Confederate flags

13 Aug

My grandparents lived in West Virginia for most of my early childhood.  We would go to visit them on road trips in the summertime.  I loved their house.  We’d drive thru a huge tunnel on the way, which we all thought was so cool.  We’d get there super late at night, and grandma would make us toast with jelly (even though it was long past our bedtime).  We’d get tucked into Uncle Patrick’s room (with all the toy horses).  We’d spin in the rocking chairs til grandpa came in and yelled at us. We’d walk to the marble factory down the road and pick through all the “garbage” marbles that were not perfect enough to sell (and got dumped out back of the factory). We’d walk to the town park to go swimming (it’s where I broke my brother’s chin open with some soccer cones one time…but that’s another story).  It was a lovely place to visit.

 

I remember a couple of years ago having some Facebook fights with some of my cousins over their use of the Confederate flag.  Eric quickly deleted them from his FB when he realized they were dead serious about their heritage and being proud of that flag.  But they were my family.  I couldn’t delete that quickly.  I couldn’t give up trying to show them that they were wrong.  That flag had nothing to do with their heritage and everything to do with hate.  Be proud of where you are from, by all means.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all be proud of where we’re from and have happy memories of childhood.  But for God’s sake don’t be proud of a flag that represented a treasonous group of southerners who started their own country and went to war with the US.  Don’t support a flag that was used during slavery and then again by the KKK to intimidate and murder people with the “wrong” skin color.  And don’t yell about immigrants flying their countries’ flags when you want to fly a flag of not just another country, but another country that fought a war with us.  Just don’t.

 

The conversation derailed, I gave up, I deleted them as well, and we all moved on. But it resurfaced yesterday as I watched in horrified tears as the streets of Charlottesville were flooded with Confederate and Nazi flags, skin heads, men armed with massive guns and homemade shields.  I took in the images of the blond haired men, standing with lit tiki torches on a university campus–the fire lighting up their eyes enough that you could see the pure hatred burning there.

 

And so last night I slept fitfully, heart heavy with the knowledge that this is part of my background, too.  Because I have family members who are racist and love their Confederate flag and think that white people have to fight for our rights, despite being called out on those false beliefs.  I couldn’t think of any new way to point out  the hypocrisy of a statement like “the Confederate flag is just celebrating my heritage and it has nothing to do with racism.”  Until yesterday.

 

I want to know where are the “the confederate flag celebrates my southern heritage” people now?  The ones who want to insist that they aren’t racist, they just love where they’re from. Why aren’t they coming out in droves to denounce their flag flying next to Nazi flags and being used at a white supremacy rally? Shouldn’t they be out, asserting that their precious flag doesn’t stand for hatred and white power–it’s just about sweet tea and farming and small towns and all that is good in the American south????

 

And while we’re calling people out for being silent now…I want know where are the Republicans who defended their vote for trump, saying how they believe in conservative policies but they aren’t racists. Where are the people who voted for trump because Hillary was “worse”????  Where are the people who mocked the “liberal snowflakes” after the election?  The ones who put up memes about the sky falling and said things like “it won’t be that bad…I had to deal with Obama for 8 years…you can deal with this…it won’t be that bad”???  Why aren’t they coming out en masse to denounce a “unite the right” event full of nazis and torch marches? If it were me, I’d certainly be saying please don’t take my title as “right winger” and bastardize it by associating it with this disgusting terrorist display.

 

But do you know why these two groups aren’t anywhere to be found?!? Because they are (at best) complicit in the kind of evil we saw this weekend. They are ok with Nazis taking their symbols and their names and using them in an ugly display of hatred, violence and terrorism. Their silence is tacit approval of what happened. Their silence is deafening.

 

Fuck your silence. Fuck your hatred.  Fuck your ignorance.  But most of all fuck your traitor Confederate flag.

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