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) -
M.A. El, I have read your
response and it is perhaps one of the best and most
thought out arguments that I have ever read (from
your side). I must say that I can't really argue
with any of your points except that you repeatedly
restate that the C.S.A. battle flag represents an
anti-American (or anti-goverment) cause. This is
true (in theory) - but the act of rebellion in our
country is not exclusive to the Confederacy. The
Founding Fathers also initiated a fight for
independence that ultimately required them to
practice their own form of "political treason"
under the flag of the "Red, White and Blue" in
place of pledging their allegiance to their King?
Were they not "separatists" themselves (from
England) in the same manner that the seceding
Southern states were from the U.S. Government and
the Lincoln administration?
E.V. Not really. Were the
Southern states colonies of the Northern states?
They were British colonies protesting "taxation
without representation" - whereas the Southern and
Northern states were all one nation.
M.A. Was not the
institution of slavery established and practiced
throughout the original colonies AND the newly
formed United States (under their flag) for many
decades leading up to the Civil War?
E.V. Yes. "under their
flag?" You talk like you're not a United States
citizen. "Their flag" was the flag of all of the
United States including the Southern states.
Slavery was practiced predominately in the Southern
states where (as you know) the economy was based on
slave labor. And even if they did practice slavery
does that excuse the Confederate states practice of
slavery? Does one person's commission of a crime
excuse another person's commission of that
M.A. In regard to the
"symbolism" of the C.S.A. flag versus the U.S.A.
flag: did we (as the white man) not commit the same
crime of racism when we desecrated the Native
Indian population, forcibly took their land, and
practically erased their entire culture under our
country's banner? This does not excuse the
institution of slavery, but it does demonstrate
that the concept of "white supremacy" was not
isolated in the South.
E.V. Yes good point! What
is the problem with "the white man"? Why does "he"
seem to enjoy destroying cultures and enslaving
M.A. I would venture to
guess that many American Indians look at our
American flag in much the way many black American's
look at the Confederate flag. In other words, the
U.S.A. could be accused of presenting a "false"
identity of freedom and independence just as the
Confederate states were.
E.V. That may be. I don't
know if that's true or not, but the issue is not
how the Indians may look at or not look at the
American flag. It's that the Confederate flag is
the flag of a domestic foreign country that fought
a war against the U.S. and its flag, not only how
Indians view the American flag or how blacks view
the Confederate flag. The C.S.A. didn't present any
"identity of freedom" to African-Americans, because
they had them enslaved even after other states
ended slavery. They never had the ideal of "all men
are created equal or freedom and liberty for all,"
now did they?
M.A. Ultimately if you want
to get down to the harsh realities of the time, the
Government of the United States was predominantly
founded and created by wealthy, educated, white men
- for wealthy, educated, white men. It was only
later that minorities, immigrants, women, and
children were finally given the rights they
E.V. Excellent point! But
at least they enshrined the ideals of "freedom and
liberty for all" in the Bill of Rights, so that
there was a legal precedent for minorities and
women to eventually attain those rights, which was
not the case with the Confederate States of America
M.A. So as much as I agree
with many of your points El, I don't think you can
limit these charges to ONLY the "Stars and Bars."
as logically, the U.S.A. flag "could be
interpreted" in the same negative manner as the
C.S.A. flag depending on the individual and his
ancestors experiences under that flag (especially
the Native American population).
E.V. That's a good
justifying argument! But again, the issue is not if
some people could interpret "The U.S.A. flag"
negatively, it's that the Confederate flag is not
the flag of the United States, but the flag of an
anti-United States country. I respectfully submit
that honoring that flag is like America honoring
the Nazi flag, which America shouldn't honor
either. America shouldn't honor the Confederate
flag for the same reasons it wouldn't honor the
Nazi flag: both are the flags of countries that
fought wars against the United States and the
ideals for which its flag stands.
M.A. Obviously, I don't
feel this way, but one "could" if they took your
enclosed argument and replaced all references to
the "Stars and Bars" with the "Stars and Stripes" -
it would be an accurate presentation of past
oppressions under either flag.
E.V. Even "if it could be
interpreted in that way" As I've repeatedly tried
to clarify, the issue is, that the "Stars and Bars"
is not the flag of the United States, but of the
anti-United States, "Confederate States of
America", and shouldn't be honored for that reason
alone. But those who have ancestors who supported
that flag, the country who flew it and the
anti-United States-ism that it stood for, should be
allowed to display it for their own personal uses.
I'm not for banning the displaying of the
Confederate flag except in relation to government
buildings. But from a political and moral view, I
think all U.S. citizens should be offended by the
displaying of that flag for the same reasons they
should be offended by the displaying of the Nazi
flag in America.
M.A. I understand there are
sensitivity issues involved and I certainly do not
support any form of racism, but to me, demanding
that the Confederate flag be taken away entirely is
similar to taking crosses off of churches, or "In
God We Trust" off of our money, or removing the
term "Christmas Tree" from holiday advertising. It
is a part of American history and should be
preserved. However, I do agree that there is a time
and place to do so. And I am saddened by the fact
that it has been hijacked by hate-organizations who
preach racist-ideology. This is most unfortunate as
they have dishonored the flag and the men who
fought and died under it.
E.V. As I've stated, I
don't advocate taking away the Confederate flag
"entirely". I think that just makes it seem more
important to some people then it would or should be
and makes some more attached to it then they would
be if at all. It's part of American history and
should be "preserved" but the memory of what it
stood for and still stands for (to many Confederate
sympathizers), should be vividly preserved as well:
that far and foremost it is the symbol of those who
were anti-United States and the ideals for which it
stands. One of those ideals was the ending of
slavery in all the states of the United States, but
the slave holding states didn't share that ideal.
So they renounced their U.S. citizenship, created
their own country and fought a "civil" war against
the U.S. to show just how much they were against
that ideal (ending slavery).
E.V. The ugly truth that
those, who for emotional (or other reasons) don't
want to see, is that, (as you so succinctly pointed
out), although slavery was originally practiced
under the "American banner", those Americans
eventually came to their senses and ended slavery.
As Christians they realized that it was wrong to
enslave their fellow "man" and treat them like
cattle. Whereas your "glorious" Confederate heroes
(who were also Christians, like Jackson), chose to
ignore that truth and fought to maintain an
institution that was morally wrong and in conflict
with Christian values and with what Jesus taught,
"Love God with all your heart and soul and your
neighbor as yourself".
M.A. I think we should
"agree-to-disagree" in some regards, but
"agree-to-agree" in others and I can't pretend to
see things "through the eyes of a black man" - just
as I imagine you can't see things "through the eyes
of a white man." All we can do is listen to one
another and love and forgive our transgressions,
just as Christ has done for us.
E.V. I'm not only seeing
this issue through the eyes of black man, but
through the eyes of an American. Michael you seem
to feel that the main issue is that
African-Americans (along with many whites, I might
add) find the Confederate flag offensive because of
the history of slavery. That's true, but they also
find it offensive because of what it stands for
today. All those Klan, Neo-Nazis, and skin-head
groups who display it at their rallies show us
exactly what it stands for. But as an American, the
more important issue for me is that, the
Confederate flag was the flag of an anti-United
States country that fought a war against the United
States and the ideals of" liberty, freedom and
equality for all" for which it stands. That's why
I'm most critical of it in addition to the slavery
E.V. Since the end of the
Civil war there have been large numbers of white
Southerners who still act as if the former
Confederate States are a separate country from the
United States. They treat Americans from the
Northern Hemisphere as if they were foreigners
visiting from abroad. I think this attitude is the
main reason many descendants of the Confederate
States are so emotionally attached to that flag, as
well as the desire to see the "South rise again"
(meaning the return to power of the domestic
foreign country, "The Confederate States of
America"). From which they've inherited the
glorification of that country's "heroes" along with
its ideals of white supremacy and the political
domination of African-Americans. As long as that
mentality is allowed to be passed down, there will
always be cracks in the unity of the people of the
United States. "United We Stand! Divided We