Since the tragic hate crime that was the shooting of parishioners in a church, during bible studies, in Charleston SC, there have been many things that came about in such a short time. Firstly, let us not forget the victims, their family, and their community. This is the time to give them support and be there for them. They are suffering, and they deserve the support of the nation.
As a result of this tragedy, we see the usual lines being drawn. Liberals call for more gun control, conservatives call for less, and the NRA blames the victims by saying if they were armed, this never would have happened. I'm not going to get into the politics of gun control. Guns are such an entrenched part of the American culture, there are not going to be any big changes any time soon.
What I found as a surprising outcome was the fast moving to remove the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the state capitol. That is what I want to focus on for a few minutes. The flag is what was flown by General Lee during the civil war. It was never officially adopted as the symbol of the Confederate states, it was nothing more than an identifier for that army, at least during the war. Once the war was over, it basically disappeared. It was not until the civil rights movement that it truly came back. At that time, it came to represent the "south", but it was also abducted and used by racists, white supremacist, the KKK, and various horrible groups that were working to oppress or kill black citizens. This is the part of the history of that flag that makes it offensive.
There is another flag/symbol from recent times that has the same history, and that is the swastika. The Nazis stole this sun symbol to be their emblem. The atrocities they committed, especially the Holocaust, have been associated with this sacred symbol. It has made it offensive to use it in any form. The last holiday season actually saw wrapping paper removed from shelves because the geometric pattern had inadvertently produced a swastika.
So, I question, why should a flag that has been connected with lynchings, and oppression of blacks, which is just as horrible as the senseless murder of millions of people because they were Jewish, or gay, or just not "Arian", be treated any differently? I don't see why it should.
Yes, to many, it is a symbol of southern pride. To many it is also a symbol of oppression, hate, and the death of innocent people only because of the color of their skin. To me, it is time to treat it like other symbols that have been misappropriated, and leave it for the museums and history books while moving beyond this "issue" and on to what really is important, getting beyond the blatant racism that was at the root of this shooting and work to heal the community and break down the racial barriers and prejudices.
For a reasonable look at the flag: