There has been a whole lot of yelling lately about the flag that is flown so proudly in the South even after all these years. I confess that as a Kentucky boy born and raised, to this day I have a love and affection for that flag.
It was an integral part of my youth. Many of our neighbors in the working class neighborhood that I came of age in hung it on cheap dollar store aluminum flag poles every day. But don’t let the cheapness of the poles fool you – they held that flag dear.
It wasn’t unusual to see the flag decorate the graves at local cemeteries, and every pick-up truck in town driven by a “good old boy” displayed it on the bumper. I know it is hard to believe now, but there weren’t any ethnic or racial differences that I noticed about those who flew it. The Bauers did. So did the Pelosos and the Jeffersons.
But I understand things change. Whatever we thought of that flag in the ‘50s and ‘60s, today a lot of America’s elites – professors, commentators, entertainers—say that flag represents only evil. College professors berate it. In Amherst, Massachusetts, they outlawed in on public property a few years ago because critics said it stood for terrorism.
Not long ago I recall seeing a story about a couple of California kids who actually wore t-shirts to their high school with that flag on it. The impulsiveness of youth! Still, I confess, I admired them for their boldness. The principal promptly sent them home because, let’s face it, that flag is an offense to many and he feared it would spark fist fights at the school. He was probably right that it would offend.
I wouldn’t be surprised if even my modest defense of that flag could result in someone putting me on the business end of his clenched fist. If you think that all that flag stands for is genocide and slavery then anyone defending it must be a terrible, evil person.
With the atmosphere in the country now, who knows what will happen next. A few weeks ago left-wing protesters at a southern university threw that flag on the ground and stomped on it. And in case that wasn’t enough they threw a Bible on the ground and stomped on that too. A U.S. military woman, probably from the South, saw it, became enraged and tried to save that flag. Not surprisingly she was the one who got arrested – for stealing the flag! Now, as emotions get rawer, people concerned about what that flag represents are posting videos online trying to compete with each other to see who can desecrate it more. Civility is in short supply these days, particularly among those who boast of their own tolerance.
Last week in Washington, D.C., at a historic black church that President Obama has attended, a self-proclaimed religious leader told a cheering crowd that people who carry that flag are the people “we are fighting” and that the flag should be brought down. The growing hatred for that flag can be felt everywhere. Even that racist murderer of those nine good black Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, had a video on his website showing him desecrating that flag while he waved a Confederate flag.
So I guess that demagogue who spoke at the D.C. church and Dylann Roof agree – tear down that flag!
Well, obviously I am part of the past and out of step with polite society. I know that flag has flown during times when we made mistakes. But I just can’t believe that it is deserving of all this hate—not after all the good that has been done by brave men and women with that flag emblazoned on their uniforms. So, come what may, I will continue to salute and revere the Grand Old Flag, the Stars and Stripes and all that it represents.