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In the Federalist, Mollie Hemmingway says; “Congratulations, you oppose the confederate flag. Now What?”
The U.S. Civil War was a war that never should have been fought. Some 620,000 men died because slavery, an inhumane and evil practice, was permitted in many portions of this country. The South gets most of the blame for that, but the north benefited from the regime as well, even though it didn’t directly practice enslavement at the time of the war.
I used to think the war was a bit more complicated than I do now, having had my mind changed thanks to some relatively recent guided readings of President Abraham Lincoln. But long story short, the Confederacy was wrong. For whatever it’s worth, I have no nostalgia for the Confederacy and zero positive feelings for flags that reference the Confederacy, save the one painted on the General Lee or, perhaps, the one painted on RuPaul.
For some reason, 100% of media types (give or take) dealt with their feelings of anger and powerlessness in the aftermath of the racist murders of 9 black members of EmanuelAMEChurch in Charleston, South Carolina, by calling in unison for a removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol grounds. The flag was only put up during the centenary of the Civil War and a modified version was moved to a less conspicuous place about 15 years ago. …
… Basically it’s just such a hysterical atmosphere at this point, that no one can conceive of a person who is against something but also willing to tolerate the expression of that thing. Can we be against Jeff Davis — and also against destroying art and monuments and history just because they involve Jeff Davis?
Symbols are tremendously important, and state sponsorship of symbols is very much worth fighting about. But there are ways to express disapproval of art, monuments and aspects of history without taking the approach of, say, blowing up the Buddhas, to take one recent example.
And how we manage these processes of disapproval truly is important for civil society. To quote Heinrich Heine, a man who definitely knew of what he spoke, “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning men.” Mobs aren’t actually the best judges of such processes, no matter how righteous they feel or certain of their cause.
Listen, it’s great that we’re aiming to be an anti-racist society. That’s very, very good! But it’s bad that we are slowly forgetting how to dislike something without seeking its utter destruction. Somehow we’ve abandoned the aesthetic of Abraham Lincoln for that of Mao Tse-Tung. …
By all means, says Victor Davis Hanson, lets get rid of the flag that divides us. While we’re at it, he suggests, let’s get rid of La Raza and the Congressional Black Caucus.
… There are plenty of other overt racialist symbols that separate Americans. One is the prominent use of La Raza, “The Race” — seen most prominently in the National Council of La Raza, an ethnic lobbying organization that has been and is currently a recipient of federal funds. The National Council of La Raza should be free to use any title it wishes, but it should not expect the federal government to subsidize its separatist nomenclature.
The pedigree of the term La Raza is just as incendiary as that of the Confederate battle flag. The Spanish noun raza (cf. Latin radix: “root” or “race”) is akin to the now-discarded German use of Volk, which in the early 20th century came to denote a common German racial identity that transcended linguistic and cultural affinities: To be a real member of the Volk one had to “appear” German, in addition to speaking German and possessing German citizenship.
La Raza is just such a racialist term. It goes beyond a common language and country of origin, and thus transcends the more neutral puebla (“people”: Latin populus) or gente (“people”: Latin gens). Raza was deliberately reintroduced in the 1960s to promote a racially superior identity of indigenous peoples and mestizos born in the Spanish-speaking countries of the New World. …
… One wonders why in 2015 there is still nomenclature such as “the Congressional Black Caucus,” over half a century after the civil-rights movement sought to promote integration and the idea that Americans should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.. The Caucus ostensibly seeks to ensure the end of exclusion by race from full participation in American society by creating a lobbying group focused entirely on one particular race. The postmodern rationale is either that groups that have suffered past disfranchisement and discrimination should not be subject to current anti-discriminatory protocols, or that they should at least enjoy a compensatory period of exclusion from color-blind values to offset centuries of oppression.
Thus the group’s membership is entirely race-based. The Caucus is not open to those members of the House of Representatives who are not African-American, but who might share the Caucus’s racial or political agenda — as the Jewish-American Representative Steven Cohen learned when he was elected to Congress in 2006. The Lebanese-American Ralph Nader was once attacked at a Caucus meeting in clearly racial terms on the understanding that the group was exempt from charges of racism. How far is the racial concept transferable — “the Asian Caucus”? “the Latino Caucus?” “the White Caucus?” “the European-American Caucus”? The premise seems to be that African-American House members seek to promote a common “black” agenda that transcends their local, county, or state interests. If an Asian, white, or Latino voter’s congressional representative is a member of the “Black Caucus,” does that mean that the voter will receive less attention than a black voter — as de facto white caucuses in the Old South most certainly did ignore the interests of their non-white constituents? Is that why conservative African-American legislators who see all their constituents in terms that transcend race tend to avoid joining the Caucus? Could not the “Black Caucus” rebrand itself as the “Civil Rights Caucus” or the “Progressive Caucus”? …
Kevin Williamson thinks we’re in an era of peak leftism and that it will soon be in decline.
… The Confederate flag, and other rebel iconography, is a marker of Southern distinctiveness, which, like American distinctiveness, is inextricably bound up with the enslavement and oppression of black people. But only the South is irredeemable in the Left’s view, and it has been so only since about 1994, when it went Republican. Which is to say, the Confederate flag is an emblem of regional distinctiveness disapproved of by 21st-century Democrats. Their reinvigorated concern is awfully nice: When the South actually was a segregationist backwater that African-Americans were fleeing by the million — when Democrats were running the show — they were ho-hum. Today the South is an economic powerhouse, dominated by Republicans, and attracting new African-American residents by the thousands. And so the Left and its creature, the Democratic party, insist that Southern identity as such must be anathematized. The horrific crime that shocked the nation notwithstanding, black life in Charleston remains very different, in attractive ways, from black life in such Left-dominated horror shows as Cleveland and Detroit, and the state’s governor is, in the parlance of identity politics, a woman of color — but she is a Republican, too, and therefore there must be shrieking, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth.
This is a fraud, and some scales are starting to fall from some eyes. Americans believe broadly in sexual equality, but only a vanishing minority of us describe ourselves as “feminists.” “Social-justice warrior” is a term of derision. The Bernie Sanders movement, like the draft-Warren movement of which it is an offshoot, is rooted in disgust at the opportunistic politics of the Clinton claque. Young people who have heard all their lives that the Republican party and the conservative movement are for old white men — young people who may be not be quite old enough to remember Democrats’ boasting of their “double-Bubba” ticket in 1992, pairing the protégé of one Southern segregationist with the son of another — see before them Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Carly Fiorina, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik. None of those men and women is bawling about “microaggressions” or dreaming up new sexless pronouns. None belongs to the party that hoisted Dixie over the capitol in South Carolina either. Governor Haley may be sensitive to the history of her state, but she is a member of the party of Lincoln with family roots in Punjab — it isn’t her flag.
What’s going to happen between now and November 8 of next year will be a political campaign on one side of the aisle only. On the other side, it’s going to be something between a temper tantrum and a panic attack. That’s excellent news if you’re Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Carly Fiorina. It’s less good news if you live in Baltimore or Philadelphia.
Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for W, says good riddance to the flag.
As everyone knows by now, in the wake of the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina lasted week, allegedly perpetrated by a racist, Dylann Roof, there have been renewed calls to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds.
Among Republicans, those calls have come from prominent lawmakers from South Carolina, most especially Governor Nikki Haley, who is playing a significant role in transforming this debate. Among those running (or are likely soon to run) for president, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry signaled early on they wanted the flag taken down. Scott Walker, after days of hesitation, then followed. So, now, has Rand Paul. (Here’s a good score card of who stands where.)
Yet several others – including Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio – have said it’s a decision best left to South Carolinians. They have so far remained basically neutral when it comes to rendering a judgment on the Confederate flag.
They shouldn’t. In politics there are a lot of hard calls; this isn’t one of them. …
… it’s worth recapitulating the reasons the debate has changed in such a decisive way. The first one has to do with the history of the Confederate flag. For all the talk from defenders of the flag who insist otherwise, it was a symbol of slavery, white supremacy, and the dissolution of the Union. The flag was fundamentally about hate, not heritage; about subjugation, not Southern ancestry. There is a reason white supremacist groups embrace the Confederate flag as their symbol, and it doesn’t have to do with its aesthetic appeal.
The second reason has to do with the history of the Republican Party. It was founded in the 1850s by anti-slavery activists and in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Its slogan in 1856 was “free labor, free land, free men.” The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was America’s “great emancipator” who freed the slaves. So the Confederate flag was never a symbol associated with the Republican Party – including in South Carolina, where the flag was first flown over the statehouse in 1962, at the request of Democrats in the state like Governor Fritz Hollings and Representative John A. May. Yet the Republican Party has somehow found a way to get itself attached to this toxic symbol of division and repression. …