Once again, I may be late to the show, but with all the exciting stuff that has been happening the last few weeks, I wondered if I had anything even remotely original, compelling or interesting to say. And maybe I still don’t, but I’m going to speak on it anyway. The murder of nine black church goers in Charlotte, and the subsequent discussion of whether it is still okay to fly the confederate flag, and the Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriage in all fifty states. Week before last was a week when the liberal side of these arguments was celebrating giant victories, as many businesses pulled confederate flag merchandise from their shelves. But these questions are not so simple, and what we really need is a dialog in which both sides can calmly discuss the issues in an adult way. Okay, I’m a dreamer. But here’s my take:
I heard some right wing and/or Christian apologists claim that the murder of these nine black people by an avowed white supremacist who hoped to start a race war, was caused by gay and trans people and women wanting equality. It was not about abortion, and it wasn’t an attack on ‘the church.’ It chaps my hide that anyone would try to trivialize this racial crime by making it about anything other than what it was about, racial hatred. The killer, Dylan Roof, quoted the old, pro-KKK trope about black men wanting nothing more than to rape white women. I DO believe it is part of the white, southern syndrome of not being willing to accept President Obama (as evidenced by Roof saying as he committed this crime, “You are taking over “our country,” and raping our women.”
Regarding the subsequent discussion of the confederate flag, this is where the dialog needs to occur. Does the flag need to be removed from state houses? Yes. Do all confederate flag t-shirts need to be removed from Walmart? Did TV Land need to cancel “Dukes of Hazzard” reruns? Weeeeeeeellllll, maybe not.
First of all, the flag is a symbol of the losing side of a treasonous uprising against the United States, so exactly what part of “symbol of southern heritage” the flag proponents want to represent is a little beyond me. Those good folks seem to be of the tea party variety, and believe themselves to be patriotic Americans. So why they would support it flying next to the American flag is baffling. The flag should be removed from the state houses, as the leaders of those states are elected to represent all the people of their state. In case there is any confusion about the meaning behind the confederate flag, here is a quote from the guy who designed the third version of the flag:
The white supremacist who designed the Confederacy’s flag(s), one William T. Thompson, gave the definitive reason why every Republican, KKK member, and so-called Southern heritage advocate still supports flying that symbol of treason and racism. Thompson was proud to admit that “As a people we are fighting to maintain the heavenly ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. Such a flag would be a suitable emblem of our young confederacy, and sustained by the brave hearts and strong arms of the south, it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG.”
So, tell me again what portion of southern heritage you want to fly on your state house?
As for Walmart, etsy, Amazon, and TV Land, maybe not. Any individual in this country has the absolute right to wear whatever he/she wishes. And fly whatever flag they wish to fly over their homes (as long as the HOA agrees.) My question about cancelling The Dukes of Hazzard reruns-I’m guessing it was a business decision. It was never a glowing example of what TV can be, but as the song says, “Bo and Luke never meant no harm.” These businesses are making decisions based on certain public opinion, but in my opinion, they should keep those t-shirts and belt buckles in stock until they no longer sell. And when someone who knows the real meaning behind the flag should talk to people who wear it. Ask them what they feel should be done when the United States is attacked. What do they think should happen when someone is clearly guilty of treason against the United States. I’m not sure, but I don’t think President Andrew Johnson ordered mass hangings of confederate fighters, but he could have. They were guilty of treason. And of that, being on the losing side of a treasonous uprising is what you are so proud of wearing on your chest?
Regarding the Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage is legal in all of the United States, there has been a sad, but completely expected uproar over it from the christian right. There have been stories of southern county clerks who refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples due to “religious objections.” They quote a few, and I mean literally “a few” passages in the bible that address homosexuality. There are seven bible verses that speak of homosexuality. There are hundreds that address divorce, adultery, and dozens of other rules in which the penalty is supposed to be death. So when a couple in which either has been married before comes in to get a marriage license, do these christian clerks refuse them? If a pregnant woman comes in with her fiance to get a license, does the clerk order his/her staff to stone the woman for not being a virgin? Does that stoning thing still apply if a couple comes in that was involved in an adulterous relationship before deciding to get married? Then the reason they wish to deny same sex licenses is not about religion. It’s about thinking way too much about other people’s sex lives. The only type of sin christians seem to care about is sexual sin, when there are so many other sins that would be less icky to think about, and would still allow the stoning of people. Sex acts are committed in private. Thinking about how different people “do it” can create what I call “squidgy” feelings in the thinker. But consider this; it is possible that the way the thinker expresses his or her sexuality may create the same response in the person whose sex life the thinker is obsessing over. Having sex is completely natural, and every couple of consenting adults gets to decide what is right for their relationship. It’s nobodies business how, when or where it is done, provided it isn’t in the public square, which would be considered public indecency, I think. Stop obsessing over how people have sex, and start celebrating love. That’s what weddings are for, celebrating love.