Thursday, July 16, 2015


The Confederate battle flag is a flag of racism, and nothing's ever going to make me believe me otherwise, but I reluctantly find myself accepting the notion that the flag's biggest fans (or at least some of them) have deluded themselves into thinking that it isn't racist -- they're not lying to us about its meaning, they're lying to themselves. Consider this guy:
Oklahoma black man leads presidential protest by waving Confederate Flag

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The President’s Oklahoma visit sparked controversy all over the state.

Supporters of the confederate flag have their own message to send to President Obama.

In Durant, Okla. Wednesday morning, trucks lined up awaiting his arrival, and now supporters are in Bricktown.

Supporters want to let the President know the Confederate flag, they say, stands for heritage, not hate. The organizer of the event is someone you might not expect to see standing behind this cause....

“We don’t believe it’s a symbol of racism,” Andrew Duncomb, an organizer in Oklahoma City who calls himself “the Black Rebel” says....

Here's Duncomb's "Black Rebel" Facebook page, and here's his personal Facebook page.

Hey, it's fine if he loves Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, and lists Garth Brooks twice among his favorites on his personal page. But what is he telling himself about the Confederate flag?

I look at the photos on the "Black Rebel" page and see this:

And this:

Do people like this (not just the Black Rebel but the white flag supporters who insist they're not racist) think of defense of the Confederate flag as some sort of enhanced American patriotism? I sometimes hear the talk about "defending our heritage" and think these folks have really persuaded themselves that critics of the Confederate flag want to take something away from America. We know that a lot of right-wingers unabashedly enjoy the pomp and pageantry of American patriotism more than liberals -- liberals might have a lot of positive feelings about America, but we're often less enthusiastic about bunting and eagle images and the like. Right-wingers resent the left for not being sufficiently rah-rah about superficial aspects of patriotism, and I think they tell themselves they need to wave the Confederate flag in our faces because it's another American flag that should make us tear up.

And maybe these people just see the flag as the emblem of us-against-them heartland opposition to liberalism:

In all its forms:
Pro-Confederate Demonstrators Meet With Guns in Hand

A member of the 'open carry' group who says they are all friends who met through Facebook.

Given recent events around the country involving the flag, they say they decided to assemble to show their support for how they interpret the meaning of the Confederate flag.

They met downtown and with weapons and flags in hand, marched around the streets in the heart of San Antonio.

The group, composed of members from around Texas, says the flag represents their heritage and honors those who fought for the confederacy.

"This is where we're from, I was born in south Texas, I'm from Gonzales, Texas, I was born there and I'm not going to take this flag down for anybody, anybody, nobody," said Lamar Russell.....
These folks seem to be saying that the Confederate flag stands for everything they don't like that they associate with Democrats/liberals/elitists/the gummint. They seem to insisting that it's the generalized flag of freedom (as they define it). Really, it has nothing to do with slavery! And maybe they genuinely believe that they believe that. Maybe they've talked themselves into thinking it has nothing to do with the South or the 19th century or race or anything except whatever was on Limbaugh's show this afternoon.

So maybe that means the "Don't Tread on Me" flag is on the way out, and the Confederate battle flag this is the new Tea Party flag. Maybe its primary meaning will eventually be "Screw you, hippie."


Exley said...

As someone who lives in the South I feel like a lot of people consider the flag to be something between a state flag and the national flag. They genuinely don't get the history of it (which is horrifying) and to them it's a regional identifier. I live in Texas, and people around here love the Texas flag and don't see any conflicts between flying both that and the American flag. To them, the confederate flag is the same way, just over a bigger area.

aimai said...

Sure they believe its a kind of "enhanced" national flag--like the flag of real rebels and revolutionaries and also pro-military types. The South created and supported a romance of militarism, for example, like any aristocratic society. But to think that militarism and honor can recoup the actual politics of a failed aristocratic, plantation, economy is absurd. Kind of a neat trick,though, to make the cannon fodder, foot soldiers, and poor white trash believe that the flag represents their individual honor and their polity when they fought and died for white supremacy and the ownership rights of a plantation class who refused their children education and who refused to build infrastructure or support good jobs for the working class once the war was lost. These suckers have accepted scraps fromthe table of their economic betters since long before 1865, and afterwards were bought off with the lost cause. And now--and ideology always works this way--they can't see what's been done to them and happilly accept the fantasy that 1) they are somehow rebels and 2) they are somehow heirs to bravery when in reality they are simply conformists flying the flag of their own oppression.

Unknown said...

Dang, nailed it, +8.

Anonymous said...

The Souths problems are not just because of the local governments, it's also because of DC and NYC.

There are vast swaths of the country who (rightly) realize they are being fucked by DC interests, NYC finance interest, and California tech investors. The country is being looted, jobs stolen, and the people screwed. And it's not small town or rural social conservatives doing it. It's all being done by highly educated, well off, social liberals who live in a select few wealth centers which are all coastal blue cities.

The flag is flipping the bird to the people who are screwing them over. It's flipping off Goldman Sachs, which is the most progressive place to work for (because of the liberal social values there) and is the business partner of the Human Rights Campaign.

You can't separate urban cultural liberalism from the economic predators, they are one and the fucking same. And there's a refusal from many on the left to accept that NYC bankers, DC lobbyists, and billionaire tech giants are the face of cultural liberalism and the Democratic party. We don't want to admit we have the power and the money and have been regionally punching down and shitting on the rest of the nation.

Flipping us the bird is all they can do, until we take that from them as well.

Victor said...

Don Quixote wasn't the last Knight.

Bobby Lee was.
And his fellow Confederate Generals were also among the last Knights.

The French Knights got slaughtered at Agincourt by the lowly English long-bowman.

Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg was the Confederacy's Agincourt.

Usually, it's the victor's who write the history.
But in America's case, the Southerners began to rewrite history as soon as the dead were buried - if not before.

And popular culture - first books, then movies, then TV, glamourized and glorified the Confederacy.

And now, 150 years later, we're still stuck in what I call "The Cold Civil War."
I lived in NC - not an OVERLY Southern state - for 9 years, and many of the native North Carolinians are STILL fighting the Civil War.

That flag is the flag of slavery, treasonous traitors, and secessionists.
Nothing more, nothing less.

As many before me have said, that flag is the American Swastika.
The Germans are ashamed.
Our Southerners still revel in rebellion and bigotry.

Also too - what aimai said!
My comment is weak tea compared to hers.
But, what else is new? ;-)

petrilli said...

This month, waving the rebel flag pisses liberals off. That's why they do it. "Rolling coal" pisses liberals off. That's why they do it. Going into Chucky Cheese carrying an assault rifle pisses liberals off...and scares their kids. Thats why they do it.

Sorry to oversimplify, but I think that's all there is to this controversy for the most part as I see it.

To some degree, I agree with Geese; this belligerent idiocy is one way for a certain segment of powerless people to exercise the only they have, counterproductive as it is.

petrilli said...

Sorry, I meant to say:
To some degree, I agree with Geese; this belligerent idiocy is one way for a certain segment of powerless people to exercise the only franchise they have, counterproductive as it is.

Steve M. said...

Geese, if the Confederate flag wavers are so pissed off at what Goldman et al. are doing to them economically, then why do they rise to the defense of the rich every time Fox and talk radio and the Tea Party's financiers urge them to? Why is there no Huey Long-style Southern economic populism anymore among white people?

Anonymous said...

The confederate flag flies in more than just the south. Go to any rust belt town that was rat fucked by the tech companies in Cali, the finaciers in NYC, and the lobbyists in DC and you'll find the confederate flag.

Your problem is that you're defining "the rich" as a few select individuals. And not the counties that make up blue NOVA, DC, NYC, Boston, and pretty much all the highest income areas in the US. To the vast majority of the country, the blue areas on the coasts are the well off fuckers who don't have to worry about change. Our jobs don't go away! Cost of living and housing keeps going up, incomes here clobber the rest of the nation as well. Yet we have the highest income inequality here and keep bashing the rest of the nation for that. It's not just the 1% that have been winning and the rest losing, it's a few selection regions that have been winning and the rest losing. And many of us on the left try to hand wave that away, while cheering on the culture war victories that economic power has given us.

The right is rebelling against that fact as much as it is the culture losses. As for defense of the rich, when the richest cities in the US are all team blue, team blue represents the predatory industries, and team blue keeps saying 250,000-1,000,000 is middle class because of cost of living where we live... what side doesn't defend the rich? At least those on the right can claim they are giving them social problems at their cocktail parties, on the left we can't even say that.

This is also why I think Clinton might be in trouble. I think Sanders can actually speak to these people and draw some of them in. I think most people don't want to realize how much of the "random hatred and fury" in the country isn't that random. It's just different screams of primal pain and rage directed at the actions in a few zip codes that lands on whoever is the closest target.

Steve M. said...

That's a lot of words, and I'd really like to concede that there's something in them that I'm failing to consider. But the Tea Party became huge because of Rick Santelli standing on a trading floor in Chicago telling America we shouldn't help people with underwater mortgages, and that -- sorry to be disrespectful -- completely contradicts your argument.

Arthur Mervyn said...

Geese wrote:

"To the vast majority of the country, the blue areas on the coasts are the well off fuckers who don't have to worry about change."

You do know that the "vast majority of the country", population-wise, are in the blue areas on the coasts, don't you?

Anonymous said...

team blue keeps saying 250,000-1,000,000 is middle class because of cost of living where we live

You think _Democrats_ say that? Whoa, that is a dispatch from a world with a different colored sky.