Why does the southern part of the U.S. still insist on flying the Confederate flag? - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-19-2002, 11:51 AM   #16
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Thats a very good question and I certainly do not have an easy answer at the moment. This rebellion by the south was never seen as being legal by the US government obviously. Also, most of the States in the south with the exception of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia were formed on US government land with the permission of the US government. Only the above 4 states existed before the formation of the United States.
This is not an easy question to answer. If I decided tomorrow that my house and yard were a new country would it be? Certainly not in the eyes of others. I believe though that the South may have been recognized by some countries in Europe. But I'm not sure. I know they attempted trade which the Union forces tried to stop with the blockade. I'll have to look this up.
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Old 02-19-2002, 11:54 AM   #17
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I believe that England supported the Confederacy, mostly because they wanted to stick it to the U.S. Still probably harbored ill feelings after the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

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Old 02-19-2002, 12:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
What would people in Germany say if certain states (do they call them states?) decided to raise Nazi flags as rememberance for all those Germans who died in World War II?

It is one thing to personally own the memorabilia as collectors' items...that I can understand. It is another for such memorabilia to be state-sponsored.

Melon


I was going to raise the same question...
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Old 02-19-2002, 12:17 PM   #19
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Well the reason I ask is that obviously the North didn't acknowledge the Confederacy as a valid country (duh, otherwise, there wouldn't have been a war ) but does that mean it wasn't one? A functioning government and economy would seem to show that if it wasn't a country, it was well on the way to becoming one. As far as England goes, I believe they were considering acknowledging the Confederacy, but hadn't actually made an official position on it when the devastating loss at Gettysburg clinched that decision as a no. (I might be wrong here, it's been a while since I've studied Civil War history).

All that to say, as someone with a side of the family from the deeeeep South (we're talking Looziana) I have mixed feelings about this. It gets really tiring really fast to have your ancestors slammed, maligned and lambasted as the "bad guys" when for the most part they were just people with different ideas about how the government should run. Slavery was of course an issue but it was a symptom of a larger disagreement, one of centralized versus de-centralized national government. Not all Southerners went to fight for the Confederacy to keep their slaves (indeed most of the soldiers were just common people without plantations, etc.) but to preserve what they felt were their rights under the original constitution. In their minds, it was a war of independence just like the war we fought against England.

Another misconception that bugs me is this idea of the North being some big champion for African-Americans. Lincoln himself stated that the preservation of the Union was the most important reason for the war and that he could do that without freeing the slaves he would, and if he could do it AND free the slaves he would. Indeed, when the Emancipation Proclamation finally came along, many Northern soldiers deserted the army disgruntled to be fighting for "darkies". So, I think there are more sides to this story than we are often told. It's a complex issue and not a simple case of "good guys" and "bad guys".

Now...all that said, I'm quite glad that the North did win the war and that the abhorent practice of human slavery was abolished (although it's no credit to our country that it took all the way into the 1960s before civil rights began to be addressed). Regarding the flag...I'm indeed torn. It's been used as a symbol of racism and bigotry and I hate it for that. But it's also the flag under which thousands of Americans shed their blood and died for (many of them my ancestors) and for that reason, it upsets me to have it equivocated with the swaztika.

I guess I don't have an answer. I just wish people would see that it's a multi-faceted issue and that knee-jerk reactions fail to do it justice.
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Old 02-19-2002, 12:25 PM   #20
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Khanda: true enough, the flag offends enough reasonable people to justify its removal, and certainly, the South lost the Civil War. But I think a point needs to be emphasized:

As I said before, "Lincoln wanted to rebuild the broken South while allowing it to retain its dignity and honor". Unfortunately, Lincoln's vision of a genuinely redemptive Reconstruction died with him. Reconstruction was hard on the former Confederacy, resulting in many blaming recently freed slaves for the economic and social upheaval - and resulting in a GREAT deal of bitterness towards the North.

Look at what happened to Germany after World War I: the reparations system was so harsh that there was a tremendous backlash, namely the Third Reich. Compare that to Germany and Japan after WWII. Certainly, they were crushed and beaten during the war, but as soon as it ended, the Allies began a process of rebuilding and redemption. Now, both countries are economic powers and clearly the allies of their former enemies. With rare exception (particularly the Japanese evading the issue of whether Pearl Harbor was an attack that warrants an apology), it's almost as if we never were enemies.

Basically, a LOT of the South's bitterness about this issue can be traced back to a harsh Reconstruction - and the bitterness is perennially renewed by book after book (see: Faulkner) and movie after movie (Forrest Gump, Ghosts of Mississippi, The Green Mile, ad naseum) that pigeon-hole the South as a region DEFINED SOLELY BY RACISM, a region of utter backwardness.


Angela: yeah, there's Carribean Creole, but there is also home-grown Creole food in Lousiana (and surrounding areas). It is unique compared to BOTH Cajun food and Carribean food.


dream wanderer: I agree that the Confederate flag is an inappropriate symbol for Southern culture - particurlarly when that culture is at least partially defined by the contribution of blacks. I was merely explaining that some defenders of the flag see it as an apropos symbol, and I was asserting that Southern culture isn't something to disparage completely.


zonelistener: Yes, we are one country, obviously.

If you're ever in a small town in the South, see if they have a memorial to all their veterans; many do. If they do, see if they list the names of local men lost in battle - and see how many were sacrificed for the United States during World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Fact is, the South (and the Midwest) sent a disproportionate number of soldiers to these wars; MANY of them enlisted instead of being drafted. Southerners ARE Americans first, and we have demonstrated that when it counts.

(Hell, U2Bama and I have consistently demonstrated that in this forum since 9/11.)

But New Yorkers and New Englanders are allowed to celebrate their cultures, and so should we.


Sting2: Country or not, one Confederate flag or another did fly over those states for some five years during a war that has come to define the area. Thus, it should fly with the other flags in such settings as the "Six Flags" setting.

As to the question of whether the South was a country, consider this: most people consider the United States to be created on July 4, 1776, when it was still fight for its independence from England. It apparently became a country when it started the war, not when it won.

Also recognize that the colonies essentially asserted, "we have the right to be independent from England", but in just EIGHTY years the U.S. Government told the South that it doesn't have the same right. That hypocrisy is very rarely mentioned.


joyfulgirl: I agree with you that the flag should be removed from capitol buildings, but I STILL assert that doing so will not appease a very vocal group of angry people.

Look at tobacco: what started out as reasonable requests has become sheer lunacy. Warnings were put on the packaging and advertising, TV ads were removed, billboard ads have been restricted, restaurants were forced to split their dining areas, many are now forced to prohibit smoking altogether - and now some towns are proposing laws that would make it illegal to smoke in your own home if it offends someone in an adjacent house.

I honestly think that unless some reasonable line (probably flags over historical sites and memorials) is drawn and defended to the hilt, some of these protestors will continue badgering the government to the point that sheer POSSESSION of the Confederate flag is considered as criminal as burning a cross in another person's yard.


Melon: true enough, the states shouldn't fly the flags, but AGAIN, no one is asserting through the mainstream media that Germany is a backwards country still defined by anti-Semitism.


Sula: all excellent points.

One more interesting note about the Emancipation Proclamation: it ONLY freed slaves in the Confederacy. There were slave states that stayed with the North, and they were exempted from the proclamation.
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
It's been used as a symbol of racism and bigotry and I hate it for that. But it's also the flag under which thousands of Americans shed their blood and died for (many of them my ancestors) and for that reason, it upsets me to have it equivocated with the swaztika.
Good points, but neo-Nazis would likely argue similarly as to why they should be allowed to raise the Nazi flag. Nazism did stand for quite a bit more than the Holocaust, and, during the 1930s, there were lots of prominent Americans who admired and loved Hitler for his unique style of government and his effectiveness of ridding out communism. Hitler's highway system was also the model for our Interstate Highway system. No, these Americans were not necessarily anti-Semites; Hitler kept a lot of that under wraps and most people didn't know of the Holocaust until the camps were liberated at the end of World War II.

Regardless, we do have to deal with reality. The swastika was a symbol of peace for thousands of years, but now it is a symbol of hate, for better or for worse. We cannot change that. Likewise, with the Confederacy, I'm not going to doubt that many people wish to preserve the flag for various reasons, most of them being fairly noble. However, we cannot erase the fact that it is seen as a symbol of hatred and racism against black Americans, which coincides with white supremacy. You cannot erase the Civil War and you cannot erase the 100 years afterwards of state-sponsored racism and segregation at the hands of it.

It really comes down to that, as to why I believe it shouldn't be allowed to be flown. It is just like the word "fuck." It may be innocuous in regards to its original meaning in pig copulation, but, regardless of how much we can defend its usage, the indecent connotation still remains. Do I make any sense here?

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
80s,
The south was never a country so why should the Confederate flag fly over 6 flags over Texas?
The Confederacy was indeed a "country", a "Nation". Whether the Union looked at it as a nation or not is really of no importance. It was not prohibited under US law for states to secede, and they did.



[This message has been edited by 80sU2isBest (edited 02-19-2002).]
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Melon: true enough, the states shouldn't fly the flags, but AGAIN, no one is asserting through the mainstream media that Germany is a backwards country still defined by anti-Semitism.
I'm not asserting that at all about Germany, nor am I asserting that in regards to the South. The fact still remains that the swastika is a symbol of hatred in Germany and the confederate flag is seen as a symbol of white supremacism, slavery, and state-sponsored segregation and racism.

Although I wish we could, we cannot erase history just like that. There are lots of still living black Americans who lived through the institutional segregation and racism. The flag is a slap in the face to people like them.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:27 PM   #24
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Excellent post, Sula.
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:55 PM   #25
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My first concern is to address the fact that this post is directed at "the southern part of the U.S." This is a pretty sweeping generalization of people who fly the Confederate Flag.

I am, of course, against the flying of this flag. See all the other posts explaining why.
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Old 02-19-2002, 06:14 PM   #26
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Yeah, melon, I completely understand your point. And insofar as the flag is a symbol of hatred and racism, I do agree with you. I'm not particularly fond of seeing it myself unless it is at a war memorial or historical site.

Quote:
originally posted by melon: You cannot erase the Civil War and you cannot erase the 100 years afterwards of state-sponsored racism and segregation at the hands of it.
Those 100-some years of segregation should not be placed at the Confederacy's door, imo. The United States of America as a whole is to blame for that. If the Confederacy alone is to blame for the state of civil rights then it would follow that upon their defeat the North would set everything right and institute equality and justice for all, but as we all know that was not the case. I think it makes us all feel better if we can put messy things like racism, segregation, and racial supremacy in neat little boxes. Like you say, we cannot erase history, but sometimes I wonder if we are not too quick to gloss over the facts of history. History is, after all, written by those who win wars. In a country where the North won the Civil War, it seems sometimes that the easy fallacy to fall into is to blame not only the war and slavery on the South, but racism, bigotry and segregation as well. And that's unfair, I think. We must all share that burden and work to change it.

Ultimately, I think it really comes down to the perception of what the Civil War was all about. If it was (as we're led to believe by movies and by our history books) a war about slavery, then yes the Confederate flag would be by definition a symbol to be discarded. BUT, if it is a legitimate conflict fought by two nations, then why is the "losing" nation to be humiliated by having their flag outlawed?

Again, I'm posing questions here and generally playing devil's advocate. I don't have answers. I've lived in both the North and the South enough to know that it's not a simple thing. What a shame it is that Abraham Lincoln was assasinated before he had the opportunity to carry out a reconstruction of reconciliation and peace, not of destruction and punishment.
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Old 02-19-2002, 06:31 PM   #27
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Great posts from melon and sula. (Sorry, I'm at work--that's the best I can do today.)
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:07 PM   #28
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on a related note, vh1 is showing a special right now on "hate rock" ... nothing is scarier to me than seeing two six year old girls singing and doing the nazi salute. like they have any idea what they're doing? of course i knew this was going on in america, it's just sad that children are being raised with this.
this guy in west virginia, of all places, (i don't know his name) has gone so far as to create a video game where someone goes around with a machine gun, killing minorities...
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:47 PM   #29
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I think it's a stretch to suggest that the VH1 documentary is "on a related note."
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Old 02-19-2002, 07:52 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I think it's a stretch to suggest that the VH1 documentary is "on a related note."
which is what I was going to say.
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