May 1, 2017

Confederate Flag, History or Hate


Hotel Bethlehem removed a Confederate flag this weekend that was part of a Civil War reenactment wedding. In the last several years the flag has been deemed a symbol of hate. I never associated it with something encouraging discrimination, but rather more synonymous with rebellion. I think that comparisons to Nazi flags are contrived. Although, the flag may have some association with slavery, it is not reasonably associated with the wholesale extermination of 20 million people.  But even the Nazi flag is part of history.  Understand, that during the crusades and inquisition, there were also victims of the cross.

The American Civil War is one the most studied conflicts in history. Its historical sites spread from Pennsylvania to Florida. While I can understand removing that flag from the South Carolina capital building, removing statues of General Lee from parks in New Orleans is pure revisionism. We cannot edit history on contemporary standards of political correctness. The Confederate flag is certainly appropriate in any reenactment setting.

photocredit: The Morning Call

Morning Call article on incident

13 comments:

Scott Armstrong said...

Mike,

While many of us native Pennsylvanians have ancestors who fought and died for the union and enlisted as abolitionists/ Republicans we have to remember the war was not about slavery to many in the south. It was viewed as "the war of northern aggression". Now the truth is the main cause of the friction between the to sides was slavery but most who fought and died on the southern side did not see it that way. Can't say the same for those who perished under the NAZI flag.

Dave said...

Were the bride and groom offended by the flag being there?

After all. It was their wedding.

michael molovinsky said...

dave, somebody from outside on the street complained, so the hotel asked the wedding party to remove the flag. i will update the post to include an article link from the morning call. i think that the hotel should have been more supportive of their paying client, than someone passing by on the street

Dave said...

Another so much ado over nothing. Someone being "offended" over someone else's business that has nothing to do with them in any way, shape or form.

doug_b said...

If it was in the room that they paid for it's a matter of free speech. If it was in a public place (like the lobby) then the hotel had the right to remove it.

Monkey Momma said...

The flag "MAY have SOME association with slavery"??????

Now really, MM, who's being revisionist here?

The flag was hung in the front window of the hotel, visible to anyone and everyone passing by on Main Street. No context of a reenactment was known to passery-bys.

Jamie Kelton said...

Did anyone think of simply closing the window curtain ?

Monkey Momma said...

There are no curtains in that room.

Scott Armstrong said...

Do conservatives or Republicans get offended by Che T-shirts and posters? No! we think those who sport them are ill informed and serve to glamorize and murderous, totalitarian homophobe. But that is their right. Nor do we get upset and scream at iconic Mao posters that can be seen plastered in the halls of any university or college, he killed and enslaved millions. I could go on, there are other examples but the point is made. We are tolerant,the left isn't.
If two avowed communists were getting married, and any of the above were visible through a window and a Republican acted like the nit wit at the Hotel Bethlehem the man would have been arrested and put under observation. It would never have made the press.

JoshLCowen said...

Scott Armstrong 12:26. Excellent post!
For those who insist the Civil Was was only, or even mainly, about slavery should ask themselves if they really believe those uneducated farmers, factory workers, river rats, cobblers, etc. really gave a rat's behind about African slaves in the South. Not a chance. They simply believed in America and followed the wishes of their government. For a man in the state of Maine the economic condition i the state of Georgia was the furthest thing from his mind.

Dave said...

If I have to tolerate that homosexual rainbow flag, then the left can tolerate a confederate battle flag and not go ape shit every time they see something "they" think is "racist"...

TRENT HALL said...

Actually, all one has to do is read all the state declarations of secession from the Union, which all explicitly state that they were leaving the Union because of slavery, which they stated was the natural order of civilization, since Negroes were certainly inferior to whites, and because slavery was explicitly condoned by Christianity (especially in several Pauline epistles, and the First Epistle of Peter, where slaves are admonished to obey their masters).

Ancient practices of slavery differed in significant ways from the American African experience, but, that is a subject for a different day, and not really relevant to a discussion of the causes of the Civil War.

Certainly, Josh has a point that the average non slave owning southern farmer probably thought far less about the cause of the war than the fact that he was patriotic to his homeland.....which was the sovereign state in which he lived. The Union was conceived as a construct of individual sovereign states, with the "federal" government responsible for national defense & commerce policies. Virtually everything else, especially that which resided within the state, was left to the states to decide & regulate. And while poor, a non slaver owner white farmer in the South could aspire to own a few slaves, which was the ticket to wealth. The economic value of slaves constituted the largest component of valued wealth in the Southern economy.....it was the collateral for which banks lent money to plantation owners.....the key to the engine of the economy. Agriculture was the the economy; unlike the North, there was little manufacturing.

The Supreme Court had not yet ruled that the Ten Amendments ("Bill of Rights")applied to the states, and, prior to the war, in Dred Scott, upheld that run away slaves were property, not citizens, and thus not entitled to said rights.

Consequently, southern politicians feared that if the expansion of slavery was going to be prohibited in the new territories westward, then when those territories became states, they felt it was inevitable that ultimately the South would be outvoted in Congress and slavery abolished by law, as was done in Britain & France decades before.

Since the framers of the Constitution purposely did not include any language prohibiting a state from leaving the Union (part of the 3/5 Congressional representation compromise.... counting slaves in the census for the purpose of beefing up an otherwise less populated South) a "moral" counterweight fig leaf rationale could be proffered that secession was about "States Rights" rather than slavery.

After the defeat of the Confederacy, of course, this became the official mantra of Southern apologists, much like neo-Nazi & nationalist right wing parties in Europe argue today that Germany fought WW2 not to dominate Europe, but, rather to arrest the spread of godless communism.

Times change. What was not considered offensive in the past evolves. What is absurd political correctiveness to one party is egregiously offensive to another. George Carlin had whole comedy riffs on this. What is seen as a flag of simple rebellion to some is a sign of bigotry & treason to others. "History is written by the victors"

michael molovinsky said...

trent@4:45, despite your historical pontification, by the mid 1980's the confederate flag on the Dukes Of Hazard's General Lee car offended nobody. although taking down that flag at the south carolina capital was appropriate, removing it as a civil war themed wedding was imposing on the rights of wedding party.