Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Endangered Dixie Relic

By Chuck Marshall

   There has been much talk recently regarding relics of the Civil War.  State capitals and cities and towns all over the south are discussing the removal of the confederate flag from government buildings.   The state of SC is considering removing it from its capital and some towns here in Florida have already removed the flag.   To  southerners the confederate flag is often said to represent the "spirit" of the south and I've been told it should not be taken as a negative.  It's "southern pride" I've heard all my life.    White people from up north seem to see it as a quaint relic of Civil War history- nothing to be taken seriously.   African Americans usually see it as offensive and believe it represents a hate and/or disrespect for their race.   This  issue and the conversation around it is a good one and allows something positive for us to do in honor of the 9 people murdered in Charleston last month.   I can fully understand that African Americans are often offended by the symbol of the confederacy.  A symbol says a lot.   The Swastika of the Nazis is a good example of a symbol that creates instant disgust in most good people.  It is a good conversation to have for all American citizens, and especially southern citizens. 

     As is often the case, however, the issue is getting blown out of proportion.  What was a good conversation regarding a symbol perceived as hateful has turned into an exaggeration of other  Civil War relics that we’re told we should all be removing from our lives lest we be seen as defenders of slavery.   Case in point is confederate memorials.  There is a Confederate Memorial in a park in downtown Orlando that has been the focus of much more attention than it has probably had since it was erected.    There is a petition to have it removed.   But this is a memorial to the soldiers that fought in the Civil War, not the Confederacy itself.   Those were individuals who - in their mind- were defending their homeland.   All young men were and are expected to march into battle under such circumstances.   The dead  were 300,000 southern brothers, and fathers and uncles and sons.  It  dishonors the individual,  his family, and his descendants to suggest all he was doing was fighting for slavery and so all confederate memorials must come down. 

       Some memorials were erected to celebrate men who turned out to be bad men  like Nathan Bedord Forrest- the founder of the KKK.  These are the memorials which I agree should be removed and rolled over to the nearest museum.  But it's important that we uphold the soldiers who fought bravely and died in defense of their people even if it goes against our contemporary sensibilities about the "right" or "wrong" of what it was the fight was about.   Let's not dismiss these young men as we look down from our high horse in the 21st century.    Slaves were owned by the large plantations of the south and I seriously doubt these  young men marched forward with such gusto to defend the rich man’s right to own slaves even if we se e the connection today.      

In My Humble Opinion.....

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