Battle Standard of a Non-existing Nation

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

My heart goes out to the survivors and the victims’ families whose loved ones were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was truly horrendous what happened in a place that has and still stands for peace, hope and love. The kid who did this unspeakable crime, Dylann Roof, is without question insane and should have been institutionalized by his family long before this massacre ever taken place. There are those looking for some connection with racist and extreme rightwing groups with this kid. So far there are no such connections. He was not a member of any neo-nazi or klan group or rightwing militia. He ranted against African Americans and openly said he wanted to kill them, and yet he had some African American friends and he had been busted by the police for drug use. This all adds up to a psychotic kid who should have been taken seriously before he got anywhere near the church and slaughtered nine innocent people.

Now, the whole debate of racism after this incident is being focused on the battle standard of the former Confederate States of America flag. There are those who call it a “symbol of racism” (and they are partly right since the Ku Klux Klan used this flag during their terror campaign in the Reconstruction Era). There are those who call it a “flag of heritage” (and they are also partly right since not only southern whites but African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans also fought for the Confederacy under this banner). The Confederate battle standard is not a flag that is so easily categorized. But one thing that does trouble me about this is that there are those who wish to display this flag 150 years after the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) ended. The Confederate States of America (CSA) no longer exists. The former CSA in fact existed for only four years, and in the long run thankfully never had a long lasting impression on the development of the United States as a whole.

Had the Confederacy survived, it would have been a weak, struggling nation that would have been at perpetual war with what was left of the Union. It would have been generation upon generation on both sides filled with hatred and wanting to slaughter each other. The division of North America into the United States of America and the Confederate States of America would have meant both countries would have been vulnerable for whatever outside country might want to invade us and conquer us. Surprisingly, the Confederate battle flag can be found in one form or another in every southern state that was a part of the Confederacy, and in some cases is even being flown in a number of state buildings and on public state grounds. In my view, the Confederate battle flag should be retired from any and all public places, and left for people who wish to display it on their private properties and in their homes. After all, it is their right under our Constitution to fly this flag. The Confederate flag should also be allowed at privately organized events and such a flag should be put on the graves of those former Confederate soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. I believe that the rest of the country gets it that the Confederate flag will never be fully gone, and that it will remain for whatever reason. For those who are arguing about the Confederate flag for one reason or another, there are far, far more pressing issues at hand. In my view, these issues are the current national debt, the growing impoverishment of so many Americans because of the national debt, the break-down of our country’s infrastructure, and the growing menace of the new superpowers of China and Russia. We as a people and nation should be dealing with the great problems of the 21st Century—not the past dilemma of the 19th Century.

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