Since I posted on my blog last week, numerous developments have occurred in regard to the desecration of the Confederate battle flag. Not only have several big box stores vowed to discontinue sales, but Apple has taken down some of their games as well. Since then, sales of the Confederate battle flag have doubled. TV Land has stopped showing The Dukes of Hazzard, and rumor has it that Facebook will not allow postings of the Confederate battle flag (we’ll see if this gets posted).
NASCAR C.E.O. Brian France said that the flag is an “offensive and divisive symbol.” However, he somewhat changed his stance. Instead of banning the flag from races, he has offered a flag exchange, and is asking that spectators fly the Stars and Stripes instead of the Confederate battle flag this weekend in honor of Independence Day.
Ft. Sumpter has furled its Confederate battle flags, and all Confederate flags are being removed from the entrance to Stone Mountain. Some nut is even circulating a petition to have Stone Mountain blown up.
Baltimore’s mayor and city council have taken up a proposal to remove three Confederate monuments in the city. And Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants something even worse. He has announced a proposal to have the bodies of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife exhumed from Forrest Park (recently renamed Health Sciences Park by Wharton and the city council), and moved to Elmwood Cemetery. He would also like for the statue of General Forrest to be removed from the park. There is no word as to where the city would move it, or if they plan on moving the body of General Forrest’s grandson, who is also buried at the park. Absurdity reigns.
The Ku Klux Klan has stated that they will march in South Carolina later this month to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag. In my opinion, this is derogatory to the cause. Because of them and their racist views, the Confederate battle flag has been associated with them. However, most of us know this is not the case.
It’s bad representation like this that gives fuel to the fire of anti-Confederate nonsense. In a recent poll taken by USA TODAY/Suffolk University, the country is split on whether or not to do away with the flag. According to the poll, 42% believe it represents Southern history and heritage, while 42% believe the flag is racist and should be removed. More than half of whites who were polled believe the assault in South Carolina was an isolated incident committed by one lone gunman, and one-third say “it reflects a larger problem of racism in America.” However, among African Americans, three out of four say the battle flag reflects racism.
I would say that hypersensitivity is part of the problem. Why is it that three-fourths of blacks view the flag as racist? I’m sure part of the reason is because of the way the flag, and white Southerners in general, are portrayed by the media. Here in Sioux Falls, a local television station broadcast this story:
“A Sioux Falls couple feuding with their neighbors is flying the Confederate flag, hoping to offend people they don’t like who live close by. What would you think if this was your neighbor?”
Really? I find the wording to be offensive and misleading. We don’t know what their feud is about, or if there even is a feud. Is that really why they are flying the flag, or are they just proud to be from the South? Who knows, but in this case, it’s bad reporting. The cartoon below, which recently appeared in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, is also very offensive. Associating the Confederate battle flag with ISIS is horrendous, to say the least.
So what happens now? Will the flag continue to vanish, whether we like it or not? Why don’t we get a say in the matter? Why haven’t these issues been put to a vote? And what will this lead to? Will all books with the flag on the cover, historical or otherwise, be banned? Will all movies be banned as well? Gone with the Wind is already under scrutiny, and you can forget about ever seeing The Birth of a Nation on TNT again.
In honor of the Confederate battle flag and those who fought under it, I am running a contest throughout the month of July. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating what the flag means to you, and you will be entered to win both of the first two books in the Renegade Series – A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. It’s my intention to show the Confederate flag in a positive light and educate people about the Southern cause, so please help spread the word.
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.”)
On June 17, 1861, Thaddeus Lowe demonstrated the hot air balloon to President Abraham Lincoln. His plan was to use it as a reconnaissance tool to spy on the Confederate army. He came up with the plan when, in April, his balloon accidentally landed in South Carolina on a flight from Cincinnati, Ohio.
On June 5, 1783, the first documented hot air balloon flight took place. It was conducted by the Montgolfier brothers from Annonay, France. Three months later, on September 19, 1783, the first hot air balloon to fly with passengers took place in Versailles. Those brave souls rode in a basket suspended beneath the balloon. A year later, on June 24, 1784, a thirteen-year-old boy named Edward Warren was the first American to ride in a hot air balloon. This event took place in Baltimore.
Both the Confederate and Union armies used hot air balloons to spy on each other. Balloons were able to climb up to 5,000 feet. The Union balloon corp, consisting of five balloons, only lasted until the fall of 1861, when it was disbanded. Another interesting fact: George Armstrong Custer, who obtained fame during the War Between the States as the youngest man to achieve the status of general, and later met his demise at Little Big Horn, was one of the first test pilots for the newly-established reconnaissance operations using hot air balloons.
The first bloodshed of the Civil War took place a week after Union-occupied Ft. Sumter was fired upon by Confederate forces. Subsequently, Virginia voted to secede, and President Lincoln called for 75,000 additional troops. As the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment traveled through Baltimore on their way to Washington D.C., an altercation occurred – four soldiers and 34 civilians were killed in the riot.
This weekend, Baltimore will commemorate the Pratt Street Riot with a procession on Pratt Street, a living history demonstration, the grand re-opening of President Street Station, a symposium hosted by the National Park Service, and candlelight tours at Fort McHenry.
The city also plans other events throughout the year. These include special events in regard to President Lincoln’s arrival to the city by train. The B&O Railroad Museum will have the largest collection of Civil War railroad equipment in the world on display. Live performances, music, and exhibits of memorabilia and artifacts will take place as well.