Flying the Confederate Flag

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

Like the recent gay marriage ruling, the lowering of the Confederate flag in South Carolina is a very divisive and emotional issue. To some, the flag represents southern heritage: states’ rights, Christian culture, origins of the Democrat Party and agricultural America. To others, the enslavement of the black race looms like a dark cloud over the flag, which will forever distort its credit.

Unquestionably, slavery was the impetus that provoked the southern states to secede from the union. Their secession declarations expressed that they believed the non-slave states were attempting to rid the country of slavery, which they felt reduced their political and economic power and violated the Constitution. They acted accordingly.

Today’s opposition to lowering the flag shouldn’t be surprised that many want to remove a flag flying near the South Carolina capitol that was surrounded with slavery, regardless of other positive values that are imputed to it. By comparison, when America declared independence from Great Britain, we ceased flying the British flag, despite the fact those statesmen considered it to be a great nation – the home of the “rights of Englishmen.”

This decision was made by South Carolina, no one else. The people hold the same power to raise the flag as they did to lower it. Choose as they will. The lessons of liberty and government are not lost by the flag’s lowering. It’s our history, for good or bad.


By Joe Carbonari

When you fly a flag you make a statement. That statement is subject to interpretation. Flags can be misinterpreted. In the case of the flag of the Confederate States of America, or variations thereof, strong feelings are involved.

To some the flag represents a part of themselves, of their past, that they wish had gone better. They wish to feel good about themselves and their ancestors before them. Most all of us share that wish. It is human nature.

To others the flag represents a time when they were considered human beings of lesser worth, by virtue of race at birth. Physical and mental abilities aside, there’s a cross-section in all races. Regardless of where you fell at birth in that cross-section, “color” mattered. The darker the complexion the harder life would be, on average.

Vestiges of this feeling remain. The dynamic still works, to a much lesser degree, but it’s still there. Flying the flag is interpreted by some as condoning, feeding, and sustaining this concept of racial inferiority … of denigrating them personally, by virtue of the color of skin alone. The color of skin does not indicate the degree of decency or worth of the human being so encased.

Flying the Confederate flag from public buildings sends a mixed message with too much hurt involved. It’s the wrong thing to do.

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