Should South Carolina remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol? Why/why not?
Yes, it should be removed. The Confederate Battle Flag is not the national flag of the Confederacy and few men who served in the Confederacy fought under it. Mine certainly did not. It is an historical artifact that should be placed in a museum with appropriate content displayed with it. More importantly it is time for Southerners to put aside this obsession and glorification with a failed revolution and work to be tolerant of all persons who are our neighbors, regardless of race, creed or religious affiliation. It reflects so poorly on a region of the country that has much good about it. It is past time to move on.
Hey Sharon….Are you telling me and others that I can’t be tolerant of all persons who are our neighbors, regardless of race, creed or religious affiliation, if I like the Confederate Battle Flag? If so, you must be a crazy as your post makes you seem!
Hello Barry. It is a shame you feel you need to call me crazy because your interpretation of my comment doesn’t fit your beliefs. I did not equate “liking” the flag with being intolerant. I did liken this need to display it after 150 years in an inappropriate setting and act as though it is something it is not to an obsession with a failed revolution. I have no problem in celebrating the heritage of my Southern ancestors without flying a battle flag they didn’t even serve under. If you like the flag, that’s fine. That doesn’t equate to expecting or demanding it to still fly over government buildings 150 years later. We did lose and it is time to move on.
Many Americans still live in bigotry and intolerance. My family has been in the South since the mid 1600s, and continues to live here. It is everywhere and rears its ugly head regularly. Many do not even recognize their feelings, beliefs and behaviors as bigotry, intolerance or just hateful behavior. If you are not one, that’s wonderful. But again, the fact that you so easily call someone crazy who you don’t think you agree with certainly leaves me with the impression that you are at least intolerant of others’ opinions and devolve to name calling without much provocation. That’s a real shame since it contributes nothing to dialogue and just makes a person sound childish.
If you want to comment on the question, try saying something meaningful instead of attacking someone you think you disagree with.
The flag should be removed from this, and any other government property. It’s only place is in a museum or as part of a Civil War reenactment or ceremony that honors soldiers who fought in the war (e.g., graveside dedication). I say this as one who had an ancestor who fought and died for the Confederacy and as a opponent of educating on all aspects of the war…not just the issue of slavery. That being said, the battle flag has for many years been coopted by those who espouse racist beliefs, and as such is offensive to a large segment of our citizenry. Just as the N word is shunned as offensive to African Americnas, and the term “redskin” is shunned as offensive to Native Americans, so too the battle flag should be shunned as offensive. Go see it in a museum, at a reenactment or in the movies, but do not display it at a public building.
Autocorrect said “opponent”, above. Obviously it should have read “proponent”.
It should be removed, because while many believe that it honors their relatives that fought to preserve their way of life, that way of life was, whether their relatives were directly involved or not, one that contradicted directly with the principle that all men are created equally. The use of the flag by hate groups has taken away any possibility of the flag being seen as an honoring instrument, instead forcing it to reflect inequality and unrequited hate. Due to this, it is most appropriate that the flag be taken down and replaced with Old Glory.
This piece of cloth was carried by enemies of the United States, who killed United States soldiers in defense of an economy dependent on slavery. It symbolizes nothing positive anymore, and is retained as a highly charged symbol by groups that oppose political, social and economic opportunities for all Americans, and which flatly hate those non-white or Protestant Christian. South Carolina has a beautiful state flag that reflects it’s history, culture, and distinctiveness and which is rooted in the American War of Independence. They should be proud of it and let go of that tainted Virginian battle flag.
Take that flag DOWN. Now.
I think the people of South Carolina should have a frank, respectful discussion about the question and decide for themselves. That said, a flag can mean very different things to different people. While understanding and not denigrating the positive historical connotations, this flag in particular has been burdened with extremely negative meanings for many fellow citizens. A descent respect for them and for ancestors who have suffered would suggest that it should not be flown over public ground. If I were a South Carolinian, that is how I would vote. And as noted by others, the flag provides fuel to demagogues who would besmirch an entire region and its people.
Here are a couple of interesting reflections on the flag from Civil War soldiers:
“It was now the morning of the 12th of April. I had been ordered to have my lines formed for the ceremony at sunrise. It was a chill gray morning….We formed to face the last line of battle, and receive the last remnant of the arms and colors of that great army which ours had been created to confront…We were remnants also….
We could not look into those braved, bronzed faces, and those battered flags we had met on so many fields where glorious manhood lent a glory to the earth that bore it, and think of personal hate and mean revenge. Whoever had misled these men, we had not. We had led them back home….
Forgive us, therefore, if from stern and steadfast faces, eyes dimmed with tears gazed at each other across that pile of storied relics so dearly laid down, and brothers’ hands were glad to reach across that rushing tide of memories which divided us, yet made us forever one.”
William Watson, Scottish immigrant and Confederate veteran
“I believe that any admiration evoked for the Confederate movement, or any fame which may pass to posterity, will attach, not to the cause or principle for which they were said to be fighting, but to the determination and bravery displayed by those who fought the battles ; and if we accept what I think has been rather unjustly paraded before the world, as the only principles involved in the cause for which they fought, it might be a little difficult to account for the existence of such a brave spirit in men possessing no other principles, and appear somewhat contrary to moral reasoning.”
And here’s a couple of remarks from me:
My ancestors carried a flag like that one. It gave them hope and faith and strength in more than a dozen battles. When it pierced the choking gunsmoke rising above a quaint farm field in southern Maryland, when my ancestors were told that they must hold the line without ammunition in order to keep the rest of the army alive, that flag was not waving, in that moment, for the perpetuation of slavery. It was waving to remind the young men of the true virtues of duty, honor, courage, and self-sacrifice, in the face of their sternest trial. The men’s response: “We’ll hold here, by J.C., if we must all go to hell together!”
That flag makes me think of those men in that moment, but it does not make most people think that way.
However much I may cherish the memory of my ancestors and that flag, I must concede that another person could feel as deeply in the other direction—revolted, offended, nauseated—by the memory of their ancestors and their brutal enslavement and oppression as insured by that flag. When such a symbol flies on public property, it waves people away from the democratic engagement that we all desire. So take it down, South Carolina, and wish you had done it sooner.
Sam, thank you for the quotes and thoughtful comments on the battle flag on the Capitol grounds. Beautifully said.
Sam, your words are wise and well thought out.
Outside, the flag should fly over monuments and cemeteries. It is a proper function of a state government to memorialize its war dead, and that’s what appears to be the case at the memorial in front of the SC statehouse. I think it should be left in that context. Not my state and not my vote, however.
I also really like Sam’s post.
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