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)

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 crime?

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 others?

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 deserve.

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 was it?

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 issue.

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 Fall!"





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