Monday, June 29, 2015

The cultural cleansing

"We have to act, we don't have time to lose because extremists are trying to erase the identity, because they know that if there is no identity, there is no memory, there is no history, and we think this is appalling and this is not acceptable,"  UNESCO's director-general Irina Bokova stated emphatically. 

“Either [the minority groups] conform to [the Islamic State's] views of religion or belief or they have to disappear. I don't remember anything like that in contemporary history.  This is a way to destroy identity. You deprive them of their culture, you deprive them of their history, their heritage, and that is why it goes hand in hand with genocide. Along with the physical persecution, they want to eliminate—to delete—the memory of these different cultures," she added.

Bokova made these comments over a year ago as she described Isis tactics as the terrorists took over a northern town in Iraq.

She could've been talking about the Yankee actions in South Carolina and across the nation this week as they all demanded the Confederate flag be shredded and buried for good.  Joining the fray were national corporations, like Wal Mart, Sears, Google, eBay, and Amazon.  They all have decided to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.  In response, a handful of US flag makers announced they would no longer produce the Confederate flag.  Even the iconic southern band, Lynyrd Skynrd, has distanced itself from the Confederate flag.

A hundred and fifty years after the end of the war, the cultural cleansing of anything Confederate has reached what appears to be the final solution.

Yes, slavery prospered under the Confederate flag.
Which flag represents oppression and
racism?  We suspect the answer depends
on whom you ask

Oh, wait.  Slavery prospered under the Stars and Stripes. 

Even Thomas Jefferson, who owned over 600 slaves in his lifetime, recognized that his words he wrote in the Declaration of Independence - "all men are created equal" - meant our nation would need to deal with the issue of slavery.  Likening slavery to holding a wolf by the ears, he said, ..."we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.”  For Jefferson, our newly formed nation of democracy was two nations that would only be united as one through a bloody conflict to resolve the issue of slavery.

Yes, slavery was preserved under the Confederate flag.

Oh wait.  Slavery was preserved under the Stars and Stripes. 

In the few decades leading up to the Civil War, the federal government took it upon themselves to decide which new states entering the Union would be free states and which would be slave states.  Many complex issues were at play, but the timeline clearly shows the issue of slave state versus free state was nothing more than a power play between the industrialized northern states that didn't rely on slave labor and the agricultural southern states that did.   The southern states felt very strongly that each new state coming into the Union had the right to decide for themselves whether they would legalize slavery or not.  The decision was not up to the folks in DC to make.

Yes, prejudice and racism were promoted under the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended.

Oh wait.  Prejudice and racism were promoted under the Stars and Stripes.

For almost a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, Jim Crow laws were enacted and enforced throughout the country.  The concept of "separate but equal" was upheld by the US Supreme Court time and time again. 

Yes, under the Confederate flag, Black people were less than White people.

Oh wait.  The three-fifths compromise was under the Stars and Stripes where the North and South agreed that Black people were equivalent to three-fifths of a White person.

When it comes to the issue of slavery and our treatment of Black people after the end of the Civil War, our attention invariably focuses on the South.  They are the racists.  They even went to war to preserve their racist views.

Of course, the astute student of history would be quick to point out that the image of the "racist South" was promulgated by a resentful North, who shared the same views of Blacks as the South, but refused to acknowledge. 

Yes, the Civil War was started under the Stars and Stripes.  The Confederate flag emerged only as a symbol of rebellion against what the Stars and Stripes was coming to represent - a strong, centralized power in DC that no longer served the people, but, instead, ruled the people.

When the Civil War ended, Americans, and our newly found centralized power of government in DC, had the opportunity to reconstruct the South and integrate them back into the Union to make us stronger and better than ever before.  The Yankees and the general public had other ideas.  They punished the South instead.

Just as the Yankees treated Black people since the founding of this country, so they treated, and continue to treat, Southerners.  Southerners are toothless, banjo playing hillbillies with the sense God gave an oyster.

With the Southern leadership decimated and humiliated, no one was left to protect the integrity of the Confederate flag.  The KKK was probably the first hate group to adopt the flag as its symbol, but no one in the South dared yank the flag from them.  The Yankees pressed their thumbs so dang hard down on the Southerners, any show of support for the Confederate flag was deemed treasonous. 

No, not deemed treasonous by law, but implied by actions.  The Yankees came down hard on Southerners, stripping them of their wealth and pride.  Influential Southerners who could've made a difference in our attitudes toward the Confederate flag and protect its integrity instead chose to fade into the background and play the Yankee tune.

The average Confederate soldier did not fight under the Confederate flag to preserve slavery born out of some "inbred" belief that Blacks were inferior.  They fought because they didn't like the idea that the powers that be in DC felt they could dictate to the states what the states could and could not do beyond the scope listed in the Constitution. 

The average Union soldier did not fight to free the slaves because of the lofty ideal that people shouldn't be held in bondage.  They fought because the fragile new nation had to be held together if they were ever to succeed as a nation. 

A hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the Yankees are finally erasing any residual images of the Southern rebellion.  By erasing those images, they cement their power over the general populace, a power the Confederate soldiers fought against.

Under the Stars and Stripes, we have a Black child in Ohio gunned down by the police for carrying a toy gun and a Black man in NYC suffocated for selling untaxed cigarettes.  In Baltimore, we seen a city burn - not because a Black man died at the hands of the government, but because of fifty plus years of discriminatory policies in housing and employment combined with economic discrimination.

These soldiers served honorably and
should not be forgotten.  As Thomas
Jefferson predicted, they helped shape
the future of this country.
Under the Confederate flag, many men died honorably.  The fight was over an ever increasing, overbearing power in DC.  At the time, the trigger was over DC folks deciding which states would be free states and which wouldn't.  The decisions had nothing to do with right or wrong and everything to do with money and power, money and power centralized for the most benefit to those in DC. 

There were no good guys from the north riding in on white horse to free the oppressed from the bad guys in the south riding mules defending their right to oppress.  The Civil War was about the good guys from the North wanting to preserve a nation that dared built itself on a premise never considered - government of the people, by the people, and for the people - and the good guys from the South wanting to preserve a nation from the corruption of a powerful, centralized federal government that threatened those basic principles.

The South didn't lose the war as long as the Confederate flag flew.  The Confederate soldiers didn't lose their honor as patriots of this country as long as the Confederate flag flew. 

Now that the Confederate flag has been shredded and buried over one boy's sociopathic anger, where do we go from here?

Oh yeah, got it.

For your listening pleasure:
Yeah, I'm going to make you read because Lincoln wasn't around during the digital age to make a YouTube video.

FOURSCORE and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
-President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Nov 9, 1863

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

No comments:

Post a Comment