J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Confederate Flag Under Fire

rebel-flag

Once again, the Confederate Battle Flag is under attack. This time, the controversy surrounds the tragedy that occurred last week in Charleston, South Carolina, when a mentally deranged 21-year-old opened fire on a Bible study group. Apparently, this individual posted rantings online about white supremacy. He also posed with the Confederate battle flag, which is unfortunate, to say the least. As expected, the governor of South Carolina will have the flag removed from the Capitol grounds. The flag flew full-mast following the shootings, unlike the other flags on the Capitol grounds, which sparked the controversy. Why it wasn’t taken to half-mast like the others is unclear.

I have serious questions about this issue. Why did Dylann Roof’s parents allow him access to that weapon when they knew he had mental issues?  Why is the Confederate flag to blame? Roof spent too much time on the internet. Are they going to abolish computers next? Or are race-baiting politicians going to blame the NRA, the place where he bought the gun, or retail stores in general? Of course not. They’re going to attack the Confederate battle flag. Walmart just announced that it will be removing all merchandise with the flag from their stores. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They want only to destroy and censor history, and this is becoming more blatant with school’s history curriculums. What one person deems as offensive symbolism could be misinterpreted in a number of ways. Will the cross be the next target? Or the Star of David? How many other symbols will people find offensive and want to do away with, for the sake of political correctness? If this is the beginning, then where will it end?

People need to be held accountable for their actions, instead of laying blame on inanimate objects. It’s funny how the Confederate battle flag wasn’t an issue in Ferguson or Baltimore. Racism is the issue, not the Confederate battle flag.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said, “We don’t want to single out the state [South Carolina] as being uniquely bad. But, we do want to single out the state for being a candidate for a major set of reforms in terms of addressing bias and bigotry.”

By eradicating the Confederate battle flag? Really?

“The time has come to remove this symbol of hate and division from our state capitol,” said Reverend Nelson Rivers of Charleston.

He has stated the problem in a nutshell by being unwilling to see the flag as anything other than a “symbol of hate and division.” Rev. Rivers, like so many others, needs to expand on his compassion and understanding. There will always be lunatics in the world, but to target the flag as the problem is misdirected.

“The Confederate battle flag years and years ago was appropriated as a symbol of hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley. “It is a piece of history and it belongs in a history museum.”

Once every bit of history becomes obsolete or deemed politically incorrect because of changing times, does that mean it will all end up in a museum? Or worse yet, packed away from the world, so that ignorance reigns?

According to John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, the Confederate flag “helps us identify the worst people in the world.” They should “put it in a box and label it ‘bad flag’.”

Begging your pardon, Mr. Oliver, but not everyone who flies the flag goes around committing mass murder, or even spouts racial bigotry, for that matter. What does one thing have to do with the other? Or is the flag just a scapegoat?

There are too many people in this country who love the flag, and not for racist reasons. But radicals and liberals can’t seem to understand this. Sadly, the Confederate battle flag was used by hate groups in the past, and that stigma still holds true to some extent, although the American flag has the same associations. The Confederate battle flag was based on St. Andrews Cross with Scottish origins, and during the Civil War, it represented states’ rights. Over the years, hate groups caused it to evolve into a racial statement, but this desperately needs to change. It is an insult to those who see the flag as an element of their Southern heritage, and they are the people who are being punished. Haters will still be haters. The truth is, getting rid of the flag won’t get rid of the problem. People need to be reeducated about racism and the flag as being two separate entities, not one conjoined statement of hatred. If everything Confederate is erased, it still won’t solve the problem, and it only offends those who cherish their heritage and ancestry.

As Mr. Oliver stated when he was discussing another subject, revenge porn, “It’s up to us and how to fundamentally change the internet.” Don’t you think this holds true to our perceptions of the Confederate battle flag as well? It’s about time we change our perception of the flag as a symbol of hatred. In fact, it’s long overdue.

(A statue memorializing the Confederacy in Charleston was vandalized with graffiti a few days after the shootings. It’s supposed to say “Black Lives Matter.”)

Black Lives Mater

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