I was raised in the South. I heard people here in the South refer to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. It was not unusual to see the Confederate flag. And I remember being made to stand and say allegiance to the flag…during the time before “Under G0D” was added to pledge to the US Flag. I never thought much about the Confederate “Stars and Bars” ….it was seen on bumper stickers, some people had one on their wall of their bedrooms,
but it never was relevant to me.
The supporters of the Stars and Bars flag will say it is not about slavery, but kind of like, a remembrance of Southern culture and the effort to secede from the Union. I know that for some people, this is actually true, but for others here in the South, the Stars and Bars Confederate flag has been used to protest against integration, black civil rights, etc.
If some state incorporated a swastika on their flag, we would see outrage over that, although, it could be argued that the Swastika was a symbol of good luck in the East long before Hitler and his cronies adopted it.
If we want to get rid of flags because of what happened under it…then we also should look at the things that happened under our US Flag…attempted genocide of Native Americans, outright theft of Native lands, the theft of Hawaii from its indigenous people,the locking up of Japanese Americans during WWII just for being Japanese (internment camps), and so many other outrageous acts carried out under our flag.
But, proponents of the US Flag would say, “it stands for freedom, justice, liberty, equal rights”. And, many good men and women have died defending that flag (as many good people also died defending the Confederacy..not all Confederate soldiers were horrible people).
I personally think that the Confederate flag issue is not one of the biggest problems we as Americans (North Americans) have. Many people are poor, homeless, can’t afford medicine or trips to the doctor, the infrastructure is crumbling, and much more. As a person born and raised in the South, I understand that for a good many black folks, the Rebel flag stands for slavery and they feel is a slap in their face.
If it truly is divisive, then I have no problem with States like South Carolina, removing that flag. But, the truth is, unless you make possessing the Confederate flag a crime, there will be entrepreneurs who start selling all things with Confederate flags on them, from t-shirts to bumper stickers. For those who are racist, their racism is not stopped by banning a flag, and by creating an artificial vacuum of Rebel Flag products, you will merely make some niche companies very rich.
Flags are symbols by which nations, political groups, spread their presence, and often, those nations and groups do horrible things. So, once you start getting rid of flags that people don’t like, you will see all kinds of folks demanding that a flag be banned because atrocities occurred under it.
As a Southerner, I am ashamed of slavery, discrimination, abuse of minorities, but, you won’t stop those things just by erasing a flag.