Friday, June 07, 2019


Talking Points Memo reports on an unexpected controversy in Maine:
Maine legislators recently approved a new state ballad....

The song, titled “The Ballad of the 20th Maine,” tells the story of a Maine infantry regiment that fought in the Civil War, and unsurprisingly, has a pro-Union message. Two Republicans found this inappropriate.

“I find it a little bit, we are united states, we are not Union, we are united states. And I find it just a little bit – I won’t say offensive but that’s what I mean – to say that we’re any better than the South was,” Republican state Rep. Frances Head said last month while discussing the song, per the Maine Beacon.

Republican state Rep. Roger Reed expressed similar hesitations.

“I am a lover of history and especially a lover of the civil war period and regardless of what side people fought on, they were fighting for something they truly believed in,” Reed said, according to the Beacon. “Many of them were great Christian men on both sides. They fought hard and they were fighting for states’ rights as they saw them.”
Imagine a change in the law that left the United States with two official flags -- the Stars and Stripes and the Confederate battle flag. What do you think would happen? Which one do you think would be the U.S. flag of choice?

In Blue America, the Stars and Stripes would be the obvious preference -- but I think red and purple America would immediately migrate toward either double-flag displays or, in the reddest states and localities, a switchover to the Confederate battle flag. Many right-wing individuals would undoubtedly drop the Stars and Stripes for the Confederate flag -- in the South and elsewhere.

Joint displays would become a wedge issue. A Democratic governor in a swing state who flew just the Star and Stripes at state buildings would be challenged to include the Confederate battle flag. The refusal to do so would be described as bigotry. Democratic candidates for president who didn't wear both flags on their lapel would be accused of disrespect and lack of patriotism.

But just flying or wearing the Confederate flag would be treated as perfectly acceptable, particularly on the part of Republican politicians in safely red states and districts, in the North as well as tnhe South.

Eventually, in all likelihood, there'd be pundits arguing that Democrats should wear and fly the Confederate flag exclusively, at least when appearing in red districts -- and some would actually make a point of doing it, to show that they're not like all those out-of-touch liberal elitists.

In short order, I think the Confederate battle flag would outsell the Stars and Stripes by a considerable margin. It would become the new symbol of American superpatriotism. Then again, I think for some Americans it already is.

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