It’s Past Time to Stop Celebrating the Confederacy.
In light of what has happened in Charlottesville, Va, it is way past time to bring an end to the celebration of the confederacy and everything it stands for. This hate-filled march by white supremacist all started because Virginia passed the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. In response, College students from UVA along with the KKK, Neo-Nazis, the Alt-Right and other hate groups coordinated a march and ultimately a riot. These “protesters” put what the confederacy stands for on full display for the world to see. After this weekend, there is no debate for “heritage vs. hate.” The verdict was loud and clear. The confederacy and it’s relics stand for one thing and one thing only: hate.
Before I give my viewpoint, let me give some historical reference. The Confederacy was a group states that seceded from (turned their back on) America to protect slavery. In November of 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president. One of his major campaign stances, as we know, was to keep slavery from spreading to new states which evolved into the abolition of slavery. The South did not take kindly to his initial stance, and in response, South Carolina took the plunge that would divide our nation. In December of 1860, they were the first state to secede. Ten other states then followed their lead (Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina). As any country, they established a flag and also, the more recognizable: Confederate Battle Flag. This flag is still widely celebrated and showcased in America. Mind you, this flag represented the fight to preserve slavery. It is time for the celebration of this flag to end. There is NOTHING patriotic about the confederacy and what it stands for. This flag is the battle flag of traitors. This is the flag of people who defended slavery and rejected human rights. This flag represents those who turned their backs on America and refused to progress as a country. The Confederate flag is no better than the Nazi flag. Any flag that celebrates a “superior race” such as the Nazi or Confederate flags have no room for celebration. In fact, flying the Confederate flag is equivalent to flying the Nazi flag in Germany today. It is a constant middle finger to the people it oppressed for years. It is a constant reminder of a dark past. In fact, they are so similar that on Friday and Saturday white supremacists marched with both flags for the SAME purpose.
It is also time to stop celebrating Confederate “war heroes.” We see the celebration of these men all over the South. We find schools named after them, statues erected in their names, roads named after them, etc. Their faces are even etched into the side Stone Mountain. They are glorified in the South and for what reason? Were they great strategic minds or great generals? I guess. Does that make them deserving of statues and celebration? Absolutely not. Does Germany celebrate Hitler? No. Do they celebrate Goering (Hitler’s right hand man)? No. But yet, America still celebrates these Confederate Generals. They chose to be a part of the wrong side of history defending the enslavement of human beings. Yes, you can make an argument that Robert E. Lee wanted to fight with the Union and was offered Ulysses S. Grant’s position. Lee, however, chose to go with Virginia who seceded. He chose the side of hate. He chose to battle for the side of slavery. He chose to be on the side of preserving white supremacy. When he did this, he lost the opportunity to be celebrated. He chose not to fight for human rights. It is time for America to stop idolizing these men. These generals, like Lee, who were traitors to America. As long as America glorifies these men we will forever live in their shadows.
I am not trying to “erase” history as some would complain. I am a history teacher. I believe history is important. Without history it is impossible to grow as a country or as individuals. The problem with celebrating this past is that it prohibits our country from growing and adapting. It is time we put this era behind us and grow. There is no superior race. Our country is easily the most diverse country in the world. Our country is unique and it is time that America, Donald Trump and white supremacists stop fighting against equality. Enough is enough.