Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an article about the Confederate flag, “What This Cruel War Was Over,” that was recently published in The Atlantic. Mr. Coates explains exactly what the Confederate flag stands for by quoting from the original documents of and proclamations by the people who first wrapped themselves in that flag, and he continues with similar statements by Confederate flag adherents up to modern times. These quotes make for powerful reading (the article is cited at the bottom).
The Confederate flag is an emblem of white supremacy bigotry, and its continued use along with all Confederate monuments and names of public places and facilities is an unambiguous affirmation of that bigotry.
All the disingenuous babble about the continued use of the Confederate flag as part of a “heritage” is just smarmy dissembling to essentially beg the world at large to “please respect my bigotry.”
Today’s contenders vying to be the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the 2016 election are conflicted as they must simultaneously fall all over themselves to curry favor with the white bigot vote, which constituency is a major pillar of the Republican Party base, while at the same time worrying that a really solid commitment to that constituency will alienate them from most of the rest of country, which is outraged by the massacre of nine black worshippers inside their church last week in South Carolina by a white supremacist and fanatical Confederate ideologue — a terrorist.
So now the media, the political contenders and the many corporate managers of the public mind have moved quickly to preserve what must be preserved: an inequitable economic system and comfortable bigotry with an easy access to guns for the masses as a distracting false sense of personal power to substitute for a lack of any actual political power.
To preserve that core essential in the face of current popular outrage we are now treated to extravagant sanctimonious displays of concern and anguished efforts to work out procedures to remove the Confederate flag from public view. How nice.
There will also no doubt be a resurgence of public mouth-foaming about the need to somehow come to grips with preventing “mental illness” from “misusing” guns. By now it should be obvious that the desire to have a gun is itself a clear sign of mental illness.
So, the Confederate flag will be sacrificed, and perhaps mental illness flogged publicly like Quasimodo, in a spectacle of closure for the so-easily-led public mind, to quickly cover over an enduring societal abscess of inequity, bigotry and armed violence, rather than cleaning out the actual rot poisoning our nation.
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr., once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org