The Lost Causers are emboldened by a recent CNN poll that shows a majority of respondents believe the Confederate battle flag is more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism.
Among African-Americans, 72% see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, just 25% of whites agree. In the South, the racial divide is even broader. While 75% of Southern whites describe the flag as a symbol of pride and 18% call it a symbol of racism, those figures are almost exactly reversed among Southern African-Americans, with just 11% seeing it as a sign of pride and 75% viewing it as a symbol of racism.
Heritage, not hate, say the flag’s defenders. Southern pride, they claim, not racism.
(I’ve never been big on the idea of pride when it comes to region, race, gender or sexual orientation. Pride is something you accomplish. I’m no more proud to be a Southerner then I am to be gay. I was born a gay Southerner — it took no effort on my part.)
It begs the question: What is it about the South’s past elicits such pride? The South I prefer to claim — and I’m as Southern as they come, descended from Confederate veterans, born and raised in Georgia, as was my father, grandfather, great-grandfather … — is made up of people who changed the region for the better.
They did so by exposing the elitism, demagoguery and bigotry that dominates the Southern narrative — instead, many continue to fetishize fairy tales, fostering a regional persecution complex that forwards the ridiculous claim that whites are the true victims.
Witness this post by the vice-chair of Georgia’s Civil War Commission, titled, without irony, “We are in a war to save American culture.
“I am certain I do not need to tell you that we are facing a crisis. In fact, we are facing the greatest threat to our heritage in modern times. The forces arrayed against us are formidable. Their first declared goal is to remove the Confederate Battle flag which flies beside the Confederate Soldier’s monument in Columbia, South Carolina. It was put there in 2000 as part of a political compromise. But do not be fooled into thinking they will stop there. The radical leftists who are driving this crisis are committed to the complete eradication of all things Confederate.”
No, the “crisis” is being driven by those who romanticize the Confederacy.