The STARS and BARS: A "Civil"
A five-part discussion by Michael
Aubrecht and El Veasey
Quick Links: - INTRO -
1 - PART
2 - PART
3 - PART
4 - PART
El Veasey (E.V.-BLUE) -
E.V. Greetings Michael
(good Biblical name). Thanks for your kind comments
on my article "Should Americans Honor the
Confederate Flag?" on the FaithWriters website. I
take your comments as an honor and a compliment.
You state, "but you sir are a worthy opponent and,
as a fellow Christian writer, I have to respect
your talent." Although I appreciate those
sentiments, I don't view myself as an opponent of
yours or anyone else, only an advocate of that
truth, that when acknowledged, purges the mind of
all biases, falsehoods, racism and "isms" of any
kind, uniting us in truth, honesty and "human"
racial togetherness at the deepest levels of our
souls. I've read your article "Rebel flag flaps in
eye of the beholder…" that you suggested I read and
have made a few humble comments on it below.
M.A. article quote: To many,
this Southern banner simply represents their
heritage. It is a testament to their ancestors who
fought and died here in the name of a
cause--whatever aspect of that cause they chose to
support. To others, the flag represents the bondage
of their ancestors who suffered the painful woes of
slavery but were ultimately set free by the
trampling of that flag. Both are absolutely
E.V. As I pointed out in
"Should Americans Honor the Confederate Flag?"
there's a third view which I think is the more
important view: It also represents the flag of the
anti-United States of America, "Confederate States
of America," a domestic foreign country and there
is no doubt about that symbolism. Also since you
are a Christian, what about the morality involved
in "whatever aspect of that cause they chose to
support"? Does the moral rightness of the cause
carry any weight on how much or if we should honor
those who died for that cause? Or should we ignore
morality and just honor them because they died for
what they believed, whether it was morally right or
not? (If your answer is yes, should we also honor
terrorists who are fighting and dying for what they
believe in as well?)
M.A. article quote: Still, part
of preserving history is acknowledging your past.
To try to ignore or remove those parts of history
that offend some is a blatant act of dishonesty and
disrespect. What example are we setting and what
disservice are we doing to future generations by
trying to erase our past? Why can't we just
acknowledge that different people see different
things in the "Star and Bars," and that that's OK?
E.V. I agree we shouldn't
try to erase the past, ignore or remove parts of
our history that we find offensive. That's why we
shouldn't ignore that the "Stars and Bars" was the
battle flag of the anti-United States, "Confederate
States of America" either. This fact tends to be
covered-up by the more popular (and erroneous)
conception that the Civil War was merely fought
between the Northern and Southern states of
America. From a geographical (or superficial) point
of view that's true, but from a ideological, moral,
and legalistic point of view that is not true as
the war was fought between the "Confederate States
of America" and the "United States of America". So
there's more to this than "just" acknowledging that
different people see the issue differently.
M.A. article quote: So why can
we not embrace our history together and respect one
another's right to remember these men and women as
we each see fit?
E.V. Good point! I agree.
But should we only remember them "as we each see
fit" or as they really were also? It's not Northern
history or Southern (Confederate) history: it's
American History. The Confederate flag is not the
United States flag and the former Confederate
States are no longer the Confederate States (I know
this pains some people) they're now the United
States of America, and the only country's flag that
should be flying over any United States federal,
state or local government buildings (or any U.S.
buildings for that matter) is the United States
flag, because (at the risk of sounding like a
broken record) the Confederate flag is the flag of
the anti-United States, "Confederate States of
America," a domestic foreign country.
M.A. article quote: I for one
eagerly anticipate the proposed Slavery Museum
(here in Fredericksburg, VA), which some may find
offensive for "spotlighting" slavery--the same
charge others level against the Confederate battle
flag. That doesn't mean the project should be
E.V. As I've pointed out,
it's not just a question of the "Stars and Bars"
being offensive to African-Americans, more
importantly it's a flag that symbolizes a different
country (the Confederate States of America) that
was vehemently opposed to the ideals of 'freedom
and liberty for all" for which the United States
ideally stands, and fought a war against the United
States in opposition to those ideals.
M.A. article quote: We live in
the backyard, so to speak, of this war; to expect
residents to forget their past by removing a flag
that is considered by some to be politically
incorrect is wrong.
E.V. Another good point! We
shouldn't expect them to forget. They can fly the
flag for personal uses, but it shouldn't be flown
over any government buildings. They also shouldn't
forget that this flag doesn't just represent their
"Southern" heritage. It also represents the
heritage of those who were (and some who still
are), anti-United States of America and the values
of "democracy, equality and liberty for all" for
which it stood and still stands.
M.A. article quote: Most
importantly, I recognize it as a part of our own
local history. I think I have the right--the
obligation--to preserve that for future
E.V. Yes you do! But you
also "have the right--the obligation--to preserve"
the historical fact that it represents not just the
"glorious" heritage of your local ancestors, but
also the "inglorious" heritage of those who were
anti-United States and fought a war to preserve
"the Confederate States' right" to keep
African-Americans in a perpetual state of bondage,
cultural poverty and servitude. The economic power
of the slave holding states was based on free slave
labor and gave most Southern whites a conscious or
unconscious interest in helping maintain that
system, even if meant seceding from the U.S. and
going to war to defend that interest. Please
preserve this part of local history along with the
"good" parts as well.
E.V. No "Southern Heritage"
writer that I'm aware of ever focuses much
attention on this aspect of Civil War history
(moral rightness of slavery, the war, free slave
labor, anti-United States-ism, etc), but write
lavishly about the "heroism" of their Confederate
heroes, either because it's not that important to
them, so they don't see it as an issue or because
it tarnishes the "glory" of the cause and the glory
of the "heroes" of that cause that they (and you)
so eloquently write about. Which do you think it