The STARS and BARS: A "Civil" Debate
A five-part discussion by Michael Aubrecht and El Veasey

Quick Links: - INTRO - PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5
El Veasey (E.V.-BLUE) - Michael Aubrecht (M.A.-GRAY)

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 right.

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 canceled.

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 generations.

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 is?





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