Tuesday, June 24, 2008

As a Native-Born Southerner ...

... I agree with Feddie 100%.

The image of the Confederate Battle Flag has, unfortunately, become tainted because of its association with white supremacists. It's a matter of good manners (something with which any true Southern gentleman should be primarily concerned) not to display something that causes such deep offense to so many of your fellow Americans.

Instead, if you're gonna fly a flag, fly the Bonnie Blue:

And, by the way, I am amazed at the number of people I see here in Northern Ohio displaying the Confederate Battle Flag in their cars, on their homes, or on pieces of clothing. It's not a whole lot of people that do it, but enough to catch my notice.

What's up with that? Ohio has a proud history of contributing heroes to the Union cause. Virtually every town in the state has a monument to those who sacrificed their lives for the preservation of this Nation. So, what's going on?

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At 6/24/2008 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The overbearing federal government has done what it can to destroy families and communities, and you are surprised when some people espouse the cause of local government, regardless of some racist overtones? The Union had plenty of racists; the South had some abolitionists and many blacks fought for the south. 'You can't tell me what to do in my own home' is very American, even now.

At 6/24/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger Father Martin Fox said...


I see it too, and fear the worst (that it's a racist thing) but hope for the best (that it's about liberty). I don't have the nerve to ask people I don't know why they fly the battle flag.

At 6/24/2008 10:24 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

If the purpose is to lodge a protest against the overbearing weight of the federal government, there are other flags to fly:

The Gadsden Flag
is the first one that comes to mind.

Or the flag of the Culpeper Minutemen.

Or the Navy Jack.

Or the Fort Moultrie Flag

Or, if you're concerned about keeping your guns, there's the Gonzales Flag.

Or another flag associated with the Confederacy other than the one so many people associate with racism. As I've mentioned, the Bonnie Blue Flag is a good one to fly.

At 6/24/2008 10:24 AM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

I live in a rough part of Houston (inside the loop) and surprisingly in the four years that I have lived here I have not once seen a Confederate flag.

I would suggest the official flag of the Confederacy would be just as nice as old Bonnie Blue (http://www.usflag.org/history/confederatestarsandbars.html). I wasn’t born nor raised in the South but the official flag of the Confederacy seems pretty cool to me.

At 6/24/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

As my wife(who is of Monacan Indian descent) has pointed out to me on several occasions; if native-Americans were as organized and as vocal as African-Americans, they could justifiably make the same negative arguments against the American flag.

Sin has its long term consequences, does it not?

At 6/24/2008 11:56 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

True, Richard.

By the way, I love your blog. Are you familiar with the Town of Columbia in Fluvanna County? It's the smallest incorporated town in the Commonwealth. I was mayor there for 7 years before my family relocated to Ohio.

At 6/24/2008 12:54 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Richard makes a good point, similar to one I heard from Alan Keyes when this came up in the 2000 primary season.

Keyes pointed out that slavery existed in the south under the Confederate flag for only about four years. But it existed under the flag of the United States for over 80 years. And it existed under the Union Jack for well over 100 years before that.

I've lived many years in the south, but I don't have a typical southerner's view of the what the Civil War was fought over. I think it's clear that from the Confederacy's point of view the Civil War was fought over the right of states to maintain slavery not only in their own territories, but to deny the right of the federal government to ban slavery in its own territory, and eventually to deny even the northern states the right to interfere with slavery in their own territories.

I thank God that the Confederacy lost its fight.

Although, from a purely aesthetic and heraldic viewpoint, I think that the stars and bars is a lovely bit of heraldry. But it's too hard to divorce it from the defense of slavery and white supremacy it's always represented. Much as it's difficult to divorce the elegantly symmetrical swastika from the evil that it was adopted to represent.

I would submit that any Confederate flag would make a poor symbol for simply the federalist idea of "state's rights"; although some would be less controversial due solely to their lower recognition quotient.

At 6/24/2008 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my part of Ohio (NE), a great many people migrated here from the South during the booming industrial times (pre-1980s) to find work in the factories (Firestone, GM, US Steel, et. al.) Their families, culture and tradition have remained, and they make good neighbors for the most part. In our area, I think it is mostly a nod to Southern heritage to display the Confederate flag, and not an obnoxious, racist statement.

I'm not sure what the motivation is in the rest of (rural) Ohio - I hope it isn't racism, for we certainly do not need that. I have the great blessing of both immigrant (Italian/Irish) and Southern (West Virginian) families and roots, and I have never picked up on the racist, anti-Yankee, anti-outsider attitude from them - I think they had to learn to live with many different people.

Perhaps I'm being ignorant, but are the "Stars and Bars" somehow connected with NASCAR fans? Forgive me if that sounds stupid, but there are a lot of fans around, and it seems a lot of races take place down South.

Susan from Akron

At 6/24/2008 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok; let me reply once regarding Gadsen. It is an interesting flag with a solid sentiment, but it is strikingly individualistic in its verbiage and many people have reasonable aversion to being portrayed as snakes...

At 6/24/2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Yeah, I see the Battle Flag in Michigan, which sent half of her men of fighting age to fight the men carrying it during the War. In fact, there's a guy who flies it a block away from me. I prefer his festive Christmas light display, but I do the English thing and try to ignore the flag.

I think Susan from Akron is on to something--a lot of Southerners emigrated to the northern factory cities during the 40s and 50s, (300,000 to Michigan) and I think that explains some of it. General small-r rebelliousness explains some, and sadly, I think a small fraction of it *is* racially motivated. Metropolitan Detroit has a history of racial enmity, and I think it's the tall finger of fellowship by some white folks.

Oh, and I'm getting the Gonzalez flag. That's awesome!

At 6/24/2008 2:53 PM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Your Honor (Jay):

Thank you! Yes, I am familiar with Columbia as I've done some bass fishing on the mighty James in that area. I was not aware of the trivia you mention, however. Did you surrender your post to some carpetbagger commie-lib? :)

I love Fluvanna County!

Everyone: Despite what the courtiers in the media say, the Confederate battle flag remains, to most Southerners, a symbol of rebellion against big government and a symbol commemorating Southern heritage (as well as a way to aggravate self-righteous yankees). I know that is difficult for many to accept, but that is the truth. Yes, I understand it is offensive to some, but the media fans those flames all the time. As I said before, I fly the Virginia flag, although I've flown the battle flag as well. My father ALWAYS flew a battle flag - blame it on him. (And he was a liberal democrat!)

Ironically, the more the battle flag is targeted for elimination and insults, the more of them you see. Liberals simply do not understand market forces and basic human nature. Read this:


At 6/24/2008 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an unreconstructed Northerner, who is everlastingly glad that the Union won the late unpleasantness, but I also have a keen appreciation for the brave men who died fighting under the Stars and Bars. And why not? They were Americans, just the same as their Union opponents and the black slaves in bondage. The great lesson of the Civil War is that we are one people. Just as Lincoln blamed both North and South for slavery in his Second Inaugual Address: "If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?", so all Americans must take pride in the fortitude and gallantry displayed by the troops on both sides in that terrible struggle.

At 6/24/2008 6:07 PM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


A very conciliatory post sir. You are one yankee I would trust with matches.


At 6/24/2008 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You are one yankee I would trust with matches."

Thank you Richard, but I would caution you not to let me get too close to the chicken coop!

At 6/24/2008 7:41 PM, Blogger Terry said...

There was widespread use of the Stars and Bars in the rural district where I taught in Ohio, and most of the time it was used to indicate they were rednecks or country. Unfortunately, too many of them thought that included being bigots, so it perpetuated the stereotype of the flag's use.

I'll stick with the Lone Star.

At 6/24/2008 7:53 PM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


The "Stars and Bars" is actually the first national flag of the Confederacy. See:

I think you are referring to the battle flag with the blue Cross of St. Andrews on a field of red.

The "Lone Star" (Bonnie Blue) is one of my favorites. I have one on my wife's mini-van and I once had someone ask me if it meant I was a Colonel!!

At 6/24/2008 9:37 PM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

One last comment - has anyone seen this;


At 6/25/2008 9:03 AM, Blogger Terry said...

I stand corrected Richard and am embarrassed by error. I once knew that.

I also want to clarify that the vast majority of times it appeared on stickers, t-shirts, and hats at the school it had the word "redneck" attached to it. It was a case of self identification on their part. I wasn't labeling, especially considering 95% of my family speaks with a Texas drawl the only jeans I owned in high school were Wranglers starched at "welder strength."

At 6/27/2008 9:03 PM, Blogger Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


My ancestors, for the most part, were Scots-Irish dirt farmers from whence came the term "redneck": a sunburned neck from laboring all day in the hot sun. It can be taken as a compliment. I know all about the starched wranglers. My son rides bulls and that is his "official uniform."


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