I’ve lived in Texas my whole life, so it’s not at all uncommon for me to see decals on vehicles, t-shirts, hats or countless other pieces of paraphernalia depicting the Confederate flag. And while it’s not shocking for me to see a flag that represents the belief by some that they should have the right to own other human beings like property, often treating them with the utmost cruelty, it’s never made any sense to me how parts of this country still “honor” this flag and those who fought for it.
It’s not a “symbol for Southern pride” – it’s a symbol for hate, barbaric cruelty, racism, murder, oppression, abuse and shame.
In my eyes, honoring the Confederacy is like honoring Nazi Germany.
There is a big difference, however: Modern day Germany is ashamed of its horrific history, whereas millions of Americans honor those who fought to preserve their “right” to treat African-Americans like pieces of property.
It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Now, am I saying the two movements were exactly the same? No, of course not. But the ideologies of both groups (Nazis/slave owners) are similar in that they viewed a specific demographic of people like some sort of subhuman animals to be abused or slaughtered. While Nazi Germany was about genocide whereas the Confederacy was focused on slavery and basically treating people like farming equipment, it’s undeniable that both groups treated the people they abused/killed/enslaved like they weren’t human beings or equal to them in any aspect.
Now I’ve heard the ridiculous notion that the Confederacy wasn’t about defending slavery, it was about states’ rights. Right, and Nazi Germany was just about some Germans expressing their nationalistic pride.
The reason states’ rights were an issue prior to the Civil War is because of slavery. Abraham Lincoln opposed slavery into western territories while southern states wanted to expand the barbaric practice. Without going into every mundane detail that led up to the Civil War, it essentially comes down to these slave-owning states recognizing that their “right” to own slaves was in jeopardy, so before Lincoln was even inaugurated the Confederate States of America were created. Hell, Lincoln hadn’t even been president a month before the Confederacy fired the first shots of the Civil War against Fort Sumter.
Oh, by the way, the Confederacy was essentially a treasonous group that declared war against the United States government. You know, the government created by our Constitution and elected by the American people. Because nothing says “proud patriotism” and “Constitutional values” quite like seceding from the United States, opening fire on one of its military installations and trying to create your own nation – all because you don’t like the fact that your ignorant opinions about how things “should be” lie in the minority of what most Americans think.
Just think about that for just a moment – the Confederacy attacked a United States fort. If something like that occurred today, those responsible would be labeled domestic terrorists – not honored by millions of Americans in the South.
But here we are, in 2015, and there are several states where people can order license plates “honoring” the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Yes, a license plate honoring those who were fighting for the right to not only keep slavery – but expand it.
Here’s the intro from the website for the Sons of Confederate Veterans:
The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.
Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes so that future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.
The highlights were added by me to point out the parts I found the most ridiculous.
So, the Sons of Confederate Veterans believes that those who fought to preserve slavery “personified the best qualities of America” and that “liberty and freedom” were the motivating factors.
They’re joking, right? Are they really trying to claim that fighting to ensure slavery would continue was about “liberty and freedom”?
What about “liberty and freedom” for the slaves they wanted to continue to own?
Oh, then they have the gall to say that the Confederacy was fighting to underscore “their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.” Unless, of course, you were a slave, then you had no Constitutional rights – at least according to the Confederate States of America.
It never ceases to amaze me how people try to romanticize the Civil War by justifying their defense of a group of traitors who strongly opposed the ending of slavery by claiming they were just fighting against “government overreach” and “trying to preserve freedom and liberty.”
Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? One group of people claiming to be fighting to preserve freedom… while trying to oppress, disenfranchise or discriminate against another group.
It’s amazing how much our country has changed since the 1860’s – yet how much still seems to remain the same. Maybe that’s why so many conservatives don’t believe in evolution, because it seems for quite a few, especially in the South, they haven’t evolved much in over 150 years.
The South does need to “rise again” – into the 21st century.