Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Take - Confederate Symbols are not the Real Problem

The reactionary mood across the country, and especially by both South Carolina and Mississippi, to remove Confederate symbols in the wake of the tragedy in Charleston seems misguided. A New York Times article titled, Protests of Confederate Symbols Spreads Nationwide describes the activities underway in many areas. 

Attempting to remove Confederate symbols represents a new wave revisionist history and will only serve to move that turbulent period of American history further from the memory of most people. It may also serve to make the Confederate banner a more divisive part of our present struggles for identity and unity.

An interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post titled Here's what the debate over the confederate flag and state's rights really means points out some critically important issues that need to be addressed and how this nation needs to come to grips with one of the fundamental issues which contributed to the Civil War--States' rights.

With that written, it is also important to note that the Civil War continues to be known as the War of Northern Aggression in some areas of the country. This characterization is far more divisive and destructive than the banners associated with the Confederacy.

Americans died fighting for both sides during the brutal conflict. Roughly 620, 000 soldiers died during the Civil War compared with 644, 000 in ALL other conflicts combined. 

Even Maryland will be Dealing with the
Renewed Efforts to Ban Confederate Symbols
Similar to the gun debate, the Confederate symbols themselves  cannot commit a crime. Banning them does not prevent the problems nor the divergent views of people who commit heinous crimes against their fellow citizens.

My take is that banning the symbols and removing them from sale, as some stores are doing, will only make them more divisive and those who display them more rebellious and potentially more exclusive. They will become symbols of an underground groups who are support discriminatory and violent views contrary to the norms of society.

It is more important to educate people about the meaning of the symbols, their proper place in the American experience and as a reminder that we must be ever vigilant to ensure the strength of our Republic by balancing federal power and states' rights.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge. MD
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