News-Record&Sentinel, July 2020
An opinion poll by Politico Magazine found that “44 percent of [Americans] see displaying the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, with 36 percent seeing it as racist.”
Southern pride? What in the world does that mean? If we’re supposed to be proud of the Confederacy, then we’re proud of stupid.
The South was run by rich slaveholders who couldn’t see beyond next week. For 200 years, U.S. states and almost all countries had been abolishing slavery. In 1807, the U.S. Congress banned the importation of slaves. By 1860, the U.S. South stood virtually alone. Time was running out for slavery.
A wise person would have asked: Isn’t there another way to grow cotton? Sure there was: hire farm workers. Immigrants were pouring into the North (not the South), looking for work. And the U.S. government was a better bet for future slave compensation than some rinky-dink Confederate government.
The U.S. couldn’t and wouldn’t allow states to leave the Union. Everybody knew that. Governor Sam Houston in Texas refused to sign an oath to the Confederacy. He said: “To secede from the Union…would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. It will take the flower of the country – the young men.”
The Confederacy was a terrible idea, and huge numbers of Southerners wanted no part in it. All of Appalachia was pro-Union, for example. North Carolina, Tennessee, (West) Virginia and northern Alabama sent 92,000 men to the Union army. Forty percent of U.S. officers from Virginia stayed with the Union. Union Admiral David Farragut, of “Damn the torpedoes” fame, was from Knoxville.
But they seceded anyway. Super-rich, super-dumb. And sure enough, this loose collection of states, under States’ Rights, was a four-year dysfunctional tragedy with occasional comic relief. But they did manage to design a cool flag.
I read that some people fly the flag in honor of Confederates who died for their country. What can I say? I hate that they died, but they shouldn’t have fought.
An impossible States’ Rights government. A war effort constantly bungled. Slavery, their hideous cause.
So the Confederacy’s flag is a symbol of Southern pride? I’m Southern, and I’m not proud.