“We are not Confederates.” See, that was easy

Back on a previous post, Greg Jones said:

On a final note; do any of the German government buildings still fly the Nazi flag?
Just asking.

To which I gladly replied, No, they do NOT, Greg. The Germans decided to draw a line, to say going forward, “We are not Nazis.”

Unfortunately, South Carolina has not yet decided to declare to the world, “We are not Confederates.”

And therein lies the problem.

At this point, the “heritage” crowd will get apoplectic, and scream about how the Confederacy and the war it started is completely different from the Nazis and the war they started, with different causes, different motivations and different kinds of moral culpability.

But the BIGGEST way in which they are different is that the Germans are able to say, “We know our history and will never forget it. But we HAVE learned from it. And we can say unequivocally, that is not what we are about any more.”

And South Carolinians, who should be able to do the same, do not. In fact, the Republicans seeking to become our next governor deliberately, meekly submit themselves to, and do their best to pass, an ideological purity test administered by people who think the exact same conflict over the exact same issues continues today, and who are continuing the struggle.

21 thoughts on ““We are not Confederates.” See, that was easy

  1. Michael P.

    Great, it looks like you’re on a roll.. looks like it’s a good time to take a break from this blog.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    As a proud German-American whose family emigrated in the 19th century, I recognize that the extraordinary cultural heritage of the German people, in part, bred the Nazi scourge. Like so many things, idealism, striving, nationalism and the like can be taken to extremes and turn very ugly. The old South’s heritage of good manners, cordiality, hospitality–we should honor and celebrate that. Understanding that more local governments can often provide better governance than a national one: good (I wish the state legislature appreciated this more w/r/t municipal governance and not just beating back the feds).

    White supremacy and human bondage are not good things in any quantity, and the use of more local governments to perpetuate this has discredited them.

  3. Dave

    Couldn’t agree more. The flag should be taken down and put in a closet somewhere. The heritage crowd are either ignorant or willingly obtuse in their defense of it.

  4. Pat

    A few years back, we had a couple of German students staying with us for 2 weeks, and they asked us for a “South” flag. It took us a little bit to figure out what they meant, but then we asked about how they knew about the Confederate flag. Their teacher (in Germany) was a Southern history buff, plus they had seen the movie North and South. We found a couple for hem at a truck stop, but we were uncomfortable about it. I got the idea that they related to white supremacy.
    About the public display of the Confederate flag, you know, we should do the right thing no matter what choices other groups make. People over things.

  5. Pat

    That’s “We found a couple for them… ”
    About heritage, I’ve been in SC all my adult life having transplanted from another southern state, and I love SC. It is a beautiful state. I’ve met really great people. It has a great heritage beginning before the Revolutionary War – signers of the Declaration of Independence etc. I love to visit Charleston, the coast is beautiful, the Piedmont and mountains are georgeous. We even took a mini-vacation in Columbia visiting all the landmarks. It has the best state flag in the country. I think there was a vote on our state flag as one of the most marketable flags. I have a state travel book that I mark off all the towns I’ve visited. Right now we seem to be experiencing some kind of mass craziness, but I’m praying some of our great people will rise to the top and we’ll settle back down.

  6. Michael Rodgers

    “We are not Confederates.”

    Perfect. Your time with ADCO is paying off. It takes a lot of time, effort, and experience, and a lot of trial and error, to come up with the right simple sentence.

    Good work!

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    Amen, Pat! Nice post! We do live in a mostly lovely state with mostly lovely people, and we shouldn’t let the actions of a few cloud our vision.

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    Durn, and we just got back from touring the Northeast. I might have giving in on my ban on bumper stickers for that, Michael Rodgers! although it may be redundant if you’re driving a Prius….

    Vegan Confederates for Change!

  9. Herb Brasher

    One time I was frustrated by some of the things that our kids’ religion teacher was saying in religion class, so I went to the top (principal) in order to put some pressure on this particular teacher. It was a public high school, but the principal was a good Jesuit-trained man, so I figured he would have some interest, and some clout. Interest he had, but clout he did not, as an attorney friend later explained to me. One can say anything in a German school class, as long as too many parents don’t object. The one thing that is legally not allowed is any Nazi propaganda.

  10. Pat

    Thanks Kathryn. And that’ gorgeous, not “georgeous” 🙂
    I like Michael Rodgers’ poster. Does Brad get royalties? 😉

  11. bud

    Oh, and for those who are counting, that’s two posts devoted more or less primarily to the subject of the Confederate flag, among the 1,232 posts since I started this blog in March 2009.

    Two too many.

  12. Michael P.

    Michael Rodgers, I’m sure your 3rd grade art teacher would be proud. You didn’t go out of the lines once.

  13. Michael Rodgers

    There was a neo-Confederate rally at the State House today. I went as a protestor, and I brought a new sign: “It’s Not Our Flag.”

    The idea is that we already have a state flag that represents all of us, and we should fly our state flag instead of the Confederate flag.

    I did what I’ve done lately, which is to cut the letters out in foam; they really stick out nicely. And the lines around them are from a white paint marker that I drew around the letters.

    Obviously, the sign is just a quick prototype so I can field-test the slogan. I think it field-tested well. I felt happy with the comments from people.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    Good for you, Michael–the paper reported that they said 100 attended, but that the reporter never saw more than 40 at one time. 95 degrees? Wow!

  15. scout

    Michael, I like your poster and agree with your cause, but playing devil’s advocate, I would worry that that slogan might do more to further inflame the other side instead of moving them to a position of constructive conversation. Ok, I don’t know if anything will move them to a point of constructive conversation – but I can see this slogan pushing their buttons because in their mind, it is our flag. In their minds, it is who they are. I know what you mean by it and I agree, but if your point is to communicate with them – I’d fear it won’t work. What about “It’s not our state flag”…..not quite as satisfying as far as sucinctness (is that a word??) but a little less open to interpretation – more of an undeniable fact.

    But then again, if you got good response from it at the rally, maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, thanks for keeping on this issue.

  16. Michael Rodgers

    @Kathryn: 3 hours of speeches! And it felt like 100 degrees or more.

    @scout: Exactement. Brilliant. I was thinking that exactly, and I’m very glad to have read your comment. Thank you! I think I’ll add SC instead of State. And in fairness to me, I was holding 2 signs, “It’s Not Our Flag” and “Fly Our SC Flag.” Now I’ve got the two messages (problem and solution), and I think we’re nearing the end of the brainstorming, field-testing phase.

    It’s Not Our SC Flag.
    Fly Our SC Flag.

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