White supremacist, mass murderer and nutjob Dylann Storm Roof burns an American flag in an image of himself he posted on the Internet. He much has preferred the Confederate flag, you see, from another such image. (Gotta love the Gold’s Gym shirt on such a cowardly pipsqueak…)
The nation of Germany wisely bans the public display of the Nazi flag or any other Nazi symbol. (Germany, in fact, “prohibits the distribution or public use of [Nazi] … flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”)
Despite its ban on communications espousing (neo-)Nazism, Germany is viewed as a democratic nation that is not oppressive to its people. Germany’s ban is wise; it apparently is meant to prevent the resurgence of a system of right-wing hatred and terrorism that forever will be a stain on that nation.
Similarly, the United States of America should ban the public display of the Confederate flag. Period. (Other such dangerous forms of treasonous, terrorist communication also should be banned, but banning the Confederate flag would be a good start.)
The Confederate flag should, of course, be allowed to remain in museums and in history books. (Its continued use in Civil War re-enactments is, in my book, gray area, since these public events can be rallying points for those whose allegiance is to the Confederate flag — these can be white-supremacist rallies under the guise of “history education” or the like.)
Fact is, most public displays of the Confederate flag are treasonous. They are meant to signify one’s allegiance to an illegal, treasonous, breakaway, illegitimate, deeply racially oppressive “government” that was crushed by the democratically elected government of the United States of America long ago — and more often than not also to signify one’s white supremacism.
The Confederate flag is not neutral. Its public display is meant to strike fear and terror in others — as are the Nazi flag and the flag of ISIS, for example. There is an apt word for this: terrorism.
This is so indisputable that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court just this past week ruled that the state of Texas did not act unconstitutionally when it refused to allow a specialty license plate displaying the Confederate flag. (Even wingnutty idiot “Justice” Clarence Thomas was on board with the 5-4 decision.)
Reuters notes in its reportage of the fresh U.S. Supreme Court decision: “During the oral argument in the case in March, a major concern for some justices was that if the state has no say over what messages to allow, it would pave the way for other potentially offensive messages, such as images of Nazi swastikas or statements promoting the Islamist militant group al Qaeda.”
Reuters also notes:
… The [Supreme Court] found that Texas did not infringe on the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment free speech guarantee when it turned away the application by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group says it aims to preserve the “history and legacy” of soldiers who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.
“Free speech is a fundamental right to which all Americans are entitled, and today’s ruling upholds Texas’s specialty license plate program and confirms that citizens cannot compel the government to speak, just as the government cannot compel citizens to speak,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
States can generate revenue by allowing outside groups to propose specialty license plates that people then pay a fee to put on their vehicle.
“I hate that we were turned down,” said Gary Bray, commander of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“We deserve the rights like anyone else to honor our veterans,” added Bray, who said his group likely will submit a revised design.
The state declined in 2010 to approve the plate with the Confederate flag. The flag in question, a blue cross inlaid with white stars over a red background, was carried by Confederate troops in the Civil War. …
The “preserving history” and “honoring our veterans” “arguments” for the public display of the Confederate flag are bullshit.
The history of the Civil War isn’t going away. It’s there forever. It’s quite well chronicled and well preserved, in books (fiction as well as non-fiction), in films, in documentaries, in museums, in historical artifacts, in historical documents, in public monuments, in cemeteries, etc., etc. It’s not going to be forgotten if Jeb or Jethro or Zeke or Cooter or Skeeter can’t fly his freak Confederate flag in front of his trailer or on his monster truck.
And the “honoring our veterans” “argument” flies no better here in the United States than it does in Germany, if the neo-Nazis there were to claim that they only wish to “honor” Germany’s Nazi “veterans.”
You say Confederate “veterans”; I say traitors. Traitors don’t deserve to be honored publicly. At best, the Confederate war dead should be remembered only as actors in a dark time in U.S. history, actors who supported a treasonous, deeply racially oppressive, illegitimate “government” — which makes them far from “heroes.”
Speech is free until it becomes hate speech, which predictably can bring harm to others. Hate speech — which includes the display of hateful flags or other symbols — so often precedes unprovoked violence that is based in the hatred of what and/or how someone else is, not based upon anything wrongful and/or harmful that someone else actually has done.
Dylann Storm Roof of South Carolina is an abject nutjob, of which I have no doubt, but the environment in which he grew up — South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union after the democratic election of Abraham Lincoln as president and even before his inauguration — very apparently was instrumental in pushing him over the edge.
The environment in which Roof grew up included the widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag, which still flies on the grounds of the state’s capitol (to “honor” “veterans” of the illegal, illegitimate, treasonous and racially and otherwise oppressive Confederacy, you see). Even worse, Roof’s car sports a state-issued Confederate-flag license plate.
Even Repugnican presidential loser Mittens Romney has called upon the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds. (Unfortunately, he has not, to my knowledge, called for the eradication of the Confederate flag anywhere else in the state, such as on its license plates, for fuck’s sake.)
The widespread acceptance of the Confederate flag in the backasswards state of South Carolina no doubt contributed to the deaths — the murders — of the nine black Americans whom Dylann Storm Roof hatefully and cowardly gunned down in cold blood in their own historic church in Charleston on Wednesday night — after apparently having gained his victims’ trust.
Again, this is where free speech has become hate speech, and hate speech, because it so predictably can result in injury or murder, is not protected by the U.S. Constitution.
It is long past time to ban the public display of the Confederate flag, the terrorist symbol of the traitor and the white supremacist — the homegrown terrorist — everywhere in the United States of America (including, of course, on license plates, and yes, even on clothing), just as Germany similarly bans the public display of the Nazi flag.
The traitors who still pay allegiance to the long-defeated-and-defunct Confederacy would be lucky that we’re only eradicating their symbols. After all, the only good traitor and terrorist is a dead one.
The South — as the neo-Confederates think it should be — never will rise again. Not on the watch of those of us who are the true patriots, those of us who are ready for another civil war if the treasonous terrorists make another one necessary.
P.S. It’s rare, thank Goddess, that I ever see the Confederate flag here in Northern California. I still remember that some years ago, when I was at a demolition derby at a fair at a nearby Podunky town, a truck displaying the Confederate flag actually came out into the arena. My jaw dropped. (After the stomach-turning display of the Confederate flag on the truck, I sarcastically remarked to those whom I was with, because it looked like it might rain: “Oh, no! If it rains, how will we have the cross burning?”)
Minimally, the state governments and the federal government should be banned from the public display of, the sale of, or any other promotion of the Confederate flag, be it an actual flag or an image of the flag. (California, thankfully, already has such a statutory prohibition.)
You can sign this online petition to be delivered to the legislature and the governor of South Carolina demanding that the state remove the Confederate flag from all public places. It’s a start.
I also encourage you to make (as I have) a donation to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the nine individuals were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. You can do so by going to the church’s website and clicking on “Donate.”
I’m an atheist (who pretty much supports “Christian” churches only in that it’s churches’ First Amendment right to exist) and a gay man — and the black church historically has been pretty homophobic, with which I have a real problem — but this was some seriously fucked-up shit, and if we can restore this congregation to some of its former wholeness, we should.