Banning the Confederate Battle Flag

Discussion in 'Flags in the News' started by CapeFearPirate, Jun 24, 2015.

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Should the Confederate Battle Flag be banned from all govt facilities, parks and buildings?

  1. Yes, the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of racism.

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  2. No, the Confederate Battle Flag a symbol of history.

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  3. Don't know/Don't care.

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  1. I admit I can somewhat understand the movement to ban the Confederate Battle Flag from South Carolina and other states in light of recent, horrible events.

    It does bother me as a flag enthusiast to see it perceived as a symbol of hate and not for what I perceive it to be: a symbol of a movement for rebellion against a government that was seen as oppressing states rights.

    THIS IS MY OPINION: Many people do not even know about the existence of what was termed "The Cause" that was the South's argument for rebellion. Yes, slavery was part of the equation but it was also a matter of state's rights over Federal laws and taxes. The Confederate battle flag, the Bonnie Blue flag the Van Dorn Battle flag AND the "Stars and Bars" flag, in my eyes, represented those aspirations of the people of the southern states who felt they needed a different form of government. "The Cause" was not about a single issue. It was a a combination of issues that ultimately led to the Civil War.

    Like our Revolutionary War, it is probably the 2nd most important event to the history of our country. I get upset to hear that it has to become a symbol for racism, slavery or hate. It is a symbol of history and heritage.

    I know I cannot prevent the Confederate Battle flag from becoming the scapegoat for social ills. It seems that we, as a society, try to find a something or someone to symbolize or personify an evil. We see political parties adopt a historical flag like the "Don't Tread on Me" flag and give it a new identity. We've seen the sacred symbol of Hinduism and Buddhism thousands of years old turned into a hated symbol for the Third Reich.

    I am a Yankee, born and raised in Rhode Island and none of my relatives that I know of fought for either side of the Civil War. I just love history and now society is attacking history, making it a target to symbolize the perverted actions of people who are looking to create a race war.

    A sad event for those of us who delight in flags and their place in history.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
    NAVA1974 likes this.
  2. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    I was waiting for somebody else to start the dialogue.

    Let's review what has happened thus far (in 6 short days)
    * At least two, maybe three states have removed the "Battle Flag" from their capitols.
    * At least three states have started the process to remove the flag image from license plaes
    * Several major retailers have discontinued the flag (and related merchandise)
    * The Dukes of Hazzard have discontinued sales of General Lee toy cars
    * At least one school has banned "Dixie" the song.
    * There are movements to remove Civil War statues and memorials, as well as rename parks named after Civil War subjects.

    I think what scares me the most is just how swift all this has occured, I mean governments and large corporations are not known for their swiftness. I'm also one to worry, after seeing this "It's the Battle Flag today, what will it be tomorrow"

    Now, I am going to assume, that based on the subject matter of this forum, and the little I know about the frequent posters, that we are a more academic minded community when it comes to flags, in particular their history, ideals, and design. Therefore we know that the flag that is the object of this witch hunt never was an official confederate national flag, and was only one of many flags used to lead the Confederate troops into battle. We may also recall from American History they whole thing about State's Rights. However, it is also true that in the early 20th century, this particular flag was (mis)appropriated by white supremcists, and unfortunately that is the usage that people associate with the flag today. (That is until said white supremecists groups discovered the Nazi flag and dropped the Battle Flag like yesterdays chopped liver.)

    However. contrary to popular belief this Flag has *not* been outright banned (yet, consult your attorney, this may change before I hit "Post Reply") . What has happened, while knee jerk, is actually not that unreasonable.

    1. Removing from state capitols - Context is very important with flags. Placing one on your Capitol either says "This is who we are", or "This is what we think" - The Confederacy was defeated so it can't be "This is what we are", and with, at last poll I saw 44% of people opposed to the flag "This is what we think" doesn't fit either. So, it doesn't really belong on public land in an official capacity. I could see an exception, again in context, if the flag is displayed as part of a memorial or historical exhibit. And this is where the South Carolina case gets interesting, as the Flag was not on the Capitol building or on the official flag pole, but, instead was part of Civil War memorial that is on the Capitol grounds. In that case, I don't see anything wrong with it, again if it is being displayed as part of an educational exhibit. In this context the flag is saying "This is who we WERE" We may not be proud of it, but this is our past.

    Then again, there is a push to erase all traces of Civil War history, people are already calling for the removal of statues and memorials, renaming parks and the like. (The more flamboyant posts I have seen on Facebook on this try to draw comparisons to Nazi Germany and the wave of ISIS attacks on historical artifacts. What is that saying "Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it"

    2. Removing from licence plates - considering those licence plates are going on cars owned by people who may very well be offended by the Flag - the should have always been optional at best.

    3. Stores stopping the sale of the Flag - Well, they are privately owned businesses - so if the owners do not want to sell the product, they don't have to. Yes, there is a side effect that if too many large retailers join in, it could become a de facto ban. Right now, those that are selling the flag are having a field day on those who are confsuing "banned" with "scarce" - online retailers are "Out of Stock" - now if that means their inventory is truly out or they have pulled the items is unclear. Some are making it past the censors at eBay - and those that are, they are getting $50 or more for the $4 value quality flags (you know the ones in shrink wrap plastic with a light blue header card), and I have seen some of that quality going for over $100. Our local bricks and mortar flag store in town has gone on record as saying they will still sell the flags, however they will not be displayed, they will merely be on the shelves in their boxes grouped with all the other historical flags. So, as long as their wholesaler/distributors keep selling them, there will be some source.

    4. The Dukes of Hazzard case is interesting since Warner Bros. is getting rid of the General Lee, and Cooter (the actor), now owns a chain of Dukes/Southern Pride shops, who is vehemently FOR keeping things the way they were

    For myself? I did an experiment, I took out a Stars and Bars, photographed it, and posted it to facebook with the simple question "Does my flag offend you?" - So far the ones who are all for "Get rid of it" haven't said a word about it. Those who know, have left obtuse comments that they know, without giving it away, Coincidetally, I have a couple of the battle flags, including an all sewn panel, sewn star cotton version, however I recognize the raw emotions tied to that flag, and out of respect of others I never fly it. On my flag schedule, the Stars and Bars was up this week to go up on the pole, but in light of recent events, I'm skipping it this time around.

    Of course, when this is all said and done, we will all be much more understanding, and racial conflict will be a thing of the past. I mean, since all those Civil War relica have been removed, that is going to magically cure all ills, right.

    The one that is real fun to watch is the "Take it Down" crowd confronted with posts saying to take down the Pride flag. After all they are both free speech, you can't have it both ways. The Take it Down crowd gets all defensive then.
     
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    "The Cause" was not about a single issue. It was a combination of issues that ultimately led to the Civil War.

    I disagree. While there were many matters of disagreement between the northern and southern states, slavery was the issue that precipitated the secession of the southern states and the formation of the Confederacy. Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stevens said so very clearly in his famous "Cornerstone Speech" in Savannah in March 1861:

    "The new [Confederate] constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution - African slavery as it exists amongst us - the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution . . . its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery - subordination to the superior race - is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

    I ran across a remarkable little book recently that (in my opinion) should be required reading for all Americans. It's called "Apostles of Disunion" by Charles B. Drew, published in 2001. As South Carolina and other states seceded in 1860-61, their governments sent commissioners to other states urging them to follow suit. The book describes the work of these commissioners, and quotes from their speeches and documents. Here is a sample from the speech that the commissioner from Mississippi gave to the Georgia General Assembly:

    "Our fathers made this a government for the white man, rejecting the negro, as an ignorant, inferior, barbarian race, incapable of self-government, and not, therefore, entitled to be associated with the white man upon terms of civil, political or social equality . . . This new [Lincoln] administration comes into power, under the solemn pledge to overturn and strike down this great feature of our Union . . . and to substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the black and white races.

    Mississippi is firmly convinced that there is but one alternative: This new union with Lincoln Black Republicans and free negroes, without slavery; or, slavery under our old constitutional bond of union, without Lincoln Black Republicans, or free negroes either, to molest us. If we take the former, then submission to negro equality is our fate. If the latter, then secession is inevitable."

    I think it's pretty clear what motivated the Confederate states to secede, and what they and their battle flag stood for.

    BTW, the author of "Apostles" is a Southerner who grew up believing in the lost cause and proudly displayed a Confederate flag in his college dorm room. In the book's introduction, he writes: " . . . despite my scholarly training . . . I found this in many ways a difficult and painful book to write. Even though I am far removed -- both in time and attitude - from my boyhood dreaming about Confederate glory, I am still hit with a profound sadness when I read over the material on which this study is based." It's easy to understand why many Southerners might feel that way. On the other hand, it's important to note that they have nothing to be ashamed of. Today's South is an integral and vital part of every aspect of American commerce, culture and (yes) heritage.
     
  4. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    Another interesting datapoint -

    I took a trip around the web on this magical world wide surfboard:

    Annin, Valley Forge, CF Flag, and Eder Flag (the ones I look to as the major manufacturers) have all quietly removed the battle flag (if they ever carried it, I don't think CF Flag did. Actually, props to Eder Flag for not only removing it, but putting a press release front and center on their website explaining their views.

    So, while it's not "banned" per se, it will be rather harder to get a hold of. It looks like Ruffin Flag still has them listed as available. (Then again Ruffin is not FMAA certified, and my own best example of the flag in question is in fact a Ruffin whose label tells me that its origins lie somewhere in Asia. (Note: I have never flown mine, which i guess is an internal admission that I know its wrong, or at least that I appreicate and respect how others may view it.)

    Also worth noting an article about Alabama Flag and Banner - apparently they didn't take no for an answer when told they couldn't order any more through their distributor, and have started up a small scale factory making them themselves. Article said they had 1,000 orders already, hope they can keep up. It would be an interesting seller's market for them.

    See the first amendement side of me still says that if people want one of these (say for historical or academic interest in their flag collection), or others want one for whatever their reason, they should be able to still buy it, on the flip side of that, the manufacturers also don't need to be forced to produce a product they no longer whish to carry. (as would be their first amendment right). And in that, it's still a free country. And as we see at least one new company appears to be stepping up to fill a need created. That's capitalism.

    ----
    However, I do enjoy the irony coming out of South Carolina - appearently at some point in time somebody wrote the Flag into the state constitution, presumeably to preempt just this sort of thing from happening. Apparently somebody could not wait for the "slow" wheels of government to turn and the appropriate debate and legilsation to pass to get it removed, and took it upon themselves to remove it. Ok, the irony being that South Carolina then bought (or likely already had in storage) another one and raised it anew since the promise to remove it.
     
  5. Yeah, it's now a social pariah. Too bad for those of us who enjoy the history of flags. Those who wish to set their eyes on a Battle Flag may soon only be able to view it in the privacy of our own home. A kind of "Flag Pornography". Our history is yet another victim of social/political correctness.

    I do not wish to argue the basis of the Civil War. I simply should have stated it was just my opinion and I have edited my original post to reflect that. I am sure there are many people who are better at defining the cause of the Civil War than I will ever opine but that was not the point I was trying to make (as shaky as the basis for my opinions may be).

    I do fly flags to commemorate significant events of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish American War and WW2. I have studied these wars

    I admit that I have not commemorated any WW1 or Civil War events except for the addition of new states (Kansas, West Virginia) during the Civil War. I don't commemorate WW1 because it is not an era I know much about and no states were added.

    I decided a long time ago that if I commemorated CW events, I would want to feel free to commemorate events from both sides of the conflict. I felt people would misconstrue my intent, just as they had in 1962 when I flew a flag from Puerto Rico during the Cuban Missile Crisis and a reporter showed up at my house to ask why I was flying the Cuban flag! Just my preference and the result of dealing with people's lack of flag knowledge.
     
  6. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    I was just thinking that I may want to see what other CSA flags are still being sold that I want to get a hold of. (Before the social fanatics start going after them as well)
     

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