Why Does It Matter?

“When I see the Confederate flag, I see the attempt to raise an empire in slavery. It really, really is that simple. I don’t understand how anybody with any sort of education on the Civil War can see anything else.“

-Ta-Nehisi Coates

confederate flag

I was returning from shopping yesterday when I noticed two flags displayed in a neighbor’s front yard. Looking closer I saw it was the U.S. Flag and the Confederate Battle Flag, presented at equal height and rank.

It shocked me!

I had mistakenly thought that Confederate flags had all been consigned to dusty history displays or to Bo and Daisy Duke Toy Collections. I did not expect to see one flying high in a small town in Minnesota.

I immediately thought, “What jerk would do that!” Aside from the breach of decorum of the flags flying at equal height, the symbolism of raising that old banner, in obvious pride, sickened me. Long after I got home the thought that someone in my town considered it proper to display that flag, gnawed at me.

I couldn’t help but think that so many people had died fighting against everything that flag stood for. As a family historian, I knew that two of my Great-Great-Uncles had died in a Memphis Hospital of dysentery after being pushed to the absolute limits of their endurance. One of them had only arrived from Germany five months before he joined up to fight for his new countries beliefs. In fact, he did not live long enough to learn English or become a citizen. When he died, the military listed his possessions as one pair of pants, a shirt, and a blanket. They buried him in a Memphis Union Cemetery and notified my Great-Great-Grandmother that her brother had given his all to his new country.

Then I thought of many of the people I knew, who were minorities that had told me how they resent the flags popularity. How they thought it allowed people to hide their racist hatreds behind a cover of false Southern Pride.

My wife asked me later, why I just couldn’t seem to let it go? Why did a small piece of cloth mean so much to me? Perhaps it had to do with the rancor that is occurring during this year’s election. The total lack of civility being displayed by some many politicians, the willingness to label races and religions as dangerous, not worthy of American Citizenship or worse, questioning the quality of those minorities who were citizens and the division of people by sexual preference or belittling of someone’s definition of love.

I guess I have come to equate that flag as the rallying cry of bigoted small minded individuals and can no longer stand to see it fly.

-Clarence Holm

2 thoughts on “Why Does It Matter?

  1. Human evolution just seems to take a step forward, then a step back, always repeating the same notions. Slavery is alive and thriving again. You are justified in your anger.

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