I’m a lifelong Texan, born and bred. While I’ve lived in several cities within the Lone Star State, I’ve never lived outside of it. In other words, I am true a “Southerner.” But there’s no denying that there’s a sickness that’s persistent among my Southern people. I’ve seen it my whole life. And the truth of it is, it’s all tied back to the days of slavery and the Confederacy.
Even now, in 2015, most of these same Confederate states (as well as other “red states”) continue to have the same sort of mindset many of those had back in the 1800’s. They:
- Seem to think states’ rights gives them the ability to do whatever they want, even if that means violating the Constitution.
- Have a strong distrust of the federal government.
- Talk about armed revolts against our government.
- Love guns.
It’s also not a coincidence that groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations align with the modern-day Republican party. Hell, in 1989, Louisiana Republicans elected a former Grand Wizard of the KKK and white supremacist, David Duke.
But the truth is, most of this rhetoric about “Southern pride” and talk of “Southern heritage” is tied back to the Confederacy.
Let’s just look at the facts, shall we? The last shot of the Civil War was fired in June of 1865, effectively ending slavery. But it wasn’t until 1964, nearly a century later, that African-Americans were finally given equal rights in many of these former Confederate states. That is how fiercely many of these states, and the people living in them, fought against equality for African-Americans. Sure, slavery was abolished but that certainly didn’t mean that blacks were really “free.” That’s part of the “heritage” which so many Southerners seem so proud of.
With the establishment of the KKK by former Confederate soldiers almost immediately following the end of the Civil War, that began a systematic process by those who saw African-Americans as less than human to do whatever they could to make life a living hell for them and anyone who might dare support them – and that’s exactly what they successfully did for nearly a century.
Though when you think about it, while the Civil War seems like it was a long time ago, we’re really not that many generations removed from those who supported slavery and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. There were some Confederate veterans who lived until the 1950’s. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of people around today who (at least back then) supported segregation, bans on interracial marriage and opposed the Civil Rights Act.
And at the heart of it all, the symbol of that “Southern pride” and “heritage” that’s been there since the days of slavery straight through to segregation has been the Confederate battle flag.
That’s where the truth comes into play with all of this. It was the belief by some following the Civil War that the “South will rise again,” which even today is something you’ll frequently hear echoed by many Southerners. In fact, it’s a quote you’ll often see branded on the Confederate flag itself.
All of this is linked.
Yet it’s as if many people in the South either ignore this reality or just don’t care because “it’s how they were raised.” Which, by the way, is a big deal in the South. It’s why conservatives are so damn irrational. “How you were raised” can trump reality, scientific facts and pretty much damn near anything. Many of these people defending the Confederate flag almost willfully ignore the overwhelming ties to racism it symbolizes simply because “they were raised” that the flag was the “symbol of the South” and a sign of “Southern pride” and a part of “their heritage.”
Though the truth is, while some have tried to tie this flag in with their “Southern pride” seemingly in an attempt to rebrand its meaning, the Confederate flag has always been a symbol of hate. They’ve just ignored the reality about what it truly represents. Because when you trace racism from the days of the Civil War and the Confederacy, to the KKK, to segregation, to bans on interracial marriage and opposition to the Civil Rights Act, there’s one symbol that’s represented all of those horrific things:
But there’s something else that this flag represents besides racism, hate and ignorance – and that’s losers.
So, to those Southerners who still cling to the rhetoric and symbolism of a decayed era in American history that should be viewed upon with disgrace and embarrassment, I think after 150 years it’s time to face facts: The South will never rise again – not like that, and not with this flag representing it – and that’s a damn good thing. This disgusting flag and the 13 stars adorning it represents the largest treasonous act ever carried out against our Constitution, the U.S. military and this nation.