Yet another shooting of a black person by police is making headlines. I want to write some great, eloquent, inspiring response, but I can’t.
Yet another black man was killed by police. Remember his name: Alton Sterling.
My opinion on this confederate flag issue isn’t going to be popular, but since I still have the freedom express it, I’m going forward.
I hate the flag, and not just because it is used to represent a historically racist culture.
That flag represents a terrible time in American history. “Brother fought against brother” to maintain a way of life based on the enslavement of an entire race for its economic value. It was a war that quite literally tore this country in half.
More than that, the south, the confederate south (and, no, I will not be capitalizing that), fought to be separate from the Union. They fought to no longer be part of the United States.
Waving that flag proudly, to me, is one of the most un-American things you can possibly do. It is, at its core, anti-United States.
Having said that, however, I do not believe that it should be eliminated entirely.
This is still a free country (how long that will last, who knows). I say that the individual should still have the right to purchase and wave the flag, because it is is his right. As long as he does not force that flag on anyone else, he is within his rights to value it and what it stands for (as much as I loathe it).
Blaming that flag for a white supremacist murderer’s actions is no different than blaming heavy metal for a kid shooting up his school, or rap music for a kid becoming a gangster; it’s finding ways not to address the real, more complicated, causes and issues.
As for state governments flying the confederate flag: absolutely not. Governments, in general, represent the collective, and must do so neutrally. It is not beneficial in any way, shape, or form to fly that flag in a public space. The war is over. The southern states are not independent of the U.S. Get over it!
Take it down, and put it in a museum.
Banning the flag feels like the best thing, instinctively. However, think of the repercussions. Where does it stop? Suddenly, we’re crying for bans on all sorts of things. I’ve already heard arguments for a ban on Gone with the Wind; it began with the flag, and it wasn’t but a few days before someone wanted to ban a book.
I am an American, despite what some more conservative people in my life may think. I believe in the freedom to do what you please so long as you do not infringe on others. No man may tell me what to do with my body, and I may not tell another man what to put on his walls, or in his yard. I will speak on feminism, and he may speak against other races.
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.’ Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the ‘land of the free’.”
That quote may be from a Hollywood rom-com, but it stands true. You cannot call this a free country unless you accept that people are free to be something you hate, and you have to let them be that when you cannot change their minds.
I do believe in removing the flag from all government-related public locations. I do not, however, believe in forcing private individuals to give them up, or corporations to stop selling them. Keep the freedom free, please.
I honestly have nothing other than just sadness, once again, that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other, and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist… What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and when we’re killing ourselves.
You’re not alone, Jon Stewart.
I am so sick of murder in this country, like that in Charleston, being blamed on everything except what it is. Does mental illness ever play a part? I have no doubt that it does on occasion. Does a particular culture play a part? Absolutely.
But, stop making excuses for these white male killers by blaming mental illness. It is offensive to those with mental illness, the greater amount of whom try to get help, and live their lives without harming others. It is offensive to the victims who suffered the violence, at the true heart of which is racism, misogyny, homophobia, and a hatred of any culture other than that of the white, male, Christian patriarchy.