We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We may be a Yankee website, but we love the South - and the West. The Mid-west too.
We are a bit ambivalent about California, however, except for their wines, because it seems they put something strange in the water out there. THC or LSD or something. Luckily, it doesn't get into their grape juice.
Standing a post on a hill side north of Munsan-ni one night during the winter/spring of 1954 I had the distinct experience of having the 7th Marine Regiment pass me on the valley road.
It was getting light and I could see how they swung along, quick shuffling, many units carrying the Confederate Battle Flag. It wasn't till years later that I read of Jackson's foot cavalry in the Valley Campaigns, but damn, it I did witness them in my lifetime.
hi. I do not wish any ill feelings, but felt obligated to reply. I grew up in the centennial, the early 60s, reading "I Rode With Stonewall" and President Davis's "Rise and Fall" while in elementary school. My most loved birthday present was a large scale Revell model of the CSS Alabama. I lived on Stuart Ave, went to Robert E Lee High School, and had a large battle flag hung in my bedroom. At 14 I knew the rhetoric that the war was not a war for slavery, but was for the states rights bequeathed in the U.S. Constitution, and it was an inevetible clash of an agricultural society with the emerging industrial society, etc.--which is just rubbish. Every civil war buff has heard of "bleeding Kansas", and the fight wasn't to determine if Kansas would be an agricultural state or an industrial state. Even at the time, the war was recognized as a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. No one has ever questioned the courage and valor of the Confederate soldiers who actually fought. The U.S. government, the Federal government, even minted a coin to recognize the valor of the southern soldier, and I know of no similar example throughout history. Grant in his memoirs recalls that at Appomatax he could feel no joy at the defeat of soldiers who had fought so long and hard, though the cause was one of the worst ever. which is what the southern apologists could not accept. Most civil war buffs stop at April 1865, but the fighting continued for another 100 years, and throughout this time the battle flag was used by the Klan and others as a symbol of racial oppression; segregation yesterday, segregation today, segregation forever. Reconstruction and the aftermath was violent and brutal; the Gone With the Wind and Birth of a Nation version is simply a lie. In New England, the battle flag may be just an ideosyncratic expression of individualism, like my Gadsden flag, which certainly does not mean I want to attack England. But in the south, to black people the battle flag is a symbol of racial oppression, even if not meant that way. Suggested reading, "God and General Longstreet" and "Crucible of Reconstruction", both by LSU Press, I believe, or "The Bloody Shirt", or for something easy to take in, the "Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" movie. My !968 edition of Bartlett's Quotations has a brief quote by Faulkner and one by James Baldwin which should be read. I love your site. tom g. hope this is not too long.
Not too long at all Tom G. And you make righteous points, you do.
But with humankind so dependent on symbols for making our way in the world, what are we to do in this case. What symbol do we allow those from the South of our era who do wish to keep alive the memory of the valor, bravery and courage shown by Confederate soldiers. Cause I tell ya Tom... out on the battlefield every war is a 'poor man's fight', out on the 'field' every man has an equal opportunity to die. And they die not for any greater ideal than to stay alive and win. To kill the bastard that wishes to kill them. We no longer carry flags to battle... but for those men back then that might have been the last bit of color they saw, those stars and bars.
So what symbol will best keep alive the memory of the ultimate sacrifice given by those men on the Southern side, who after all, were still Americans. I know of no other symbol that better honors them. No other symbol that better honors the last thing they may have seen.
So no matter the 'real' reason for that war. No matter how some are offended by the mere sight of that flag. I do not agree with its becoming an object of scorn that some would see consigned to the dustbin of history. Those who died deserve better than that.
As the offspring of North and South parents , who has split my life between North and South, my take on the conflict is as follows. Those in power in the South seceded due to slavery: the election of Lincoln showed that the South could no longer dominate the political process in the US. The overwhelming majority of those who fought for the South did so to defend their homes. The war was an inevitable tragedy.
I'll argue that the Confederate Battle Flag isn't a racist symbol, although it is used by racists. But I'd never fly it myself, because I know the perception that it is a racist symbol. Then again it's not my symbol, I lived in several different cultures before landing in the American South. The cross of St. George, the English flag, has the same issues -- not that I can understand why.