Read all of this or read none of it, your choice. For many, you will get to the end and not have gotten what I’m trying to say at all. You don’t have to agree, that’s not the point, but for once this week, just clear your mind and read.
I was out cleaning some things up in the garage today, trying to figure out a way not to be doing that. I was giving thought to symbols, specifically flags, and how different groups feel about them. Then I hit upon something that changes my perspective on one topic and cemented it in another.
Many are upset at the flag flown for the South in the Civil War. Many things are said about this flag, but one of the major things is that the Confederacy was fighting to keep slavery. What percentage or part that slavery played in the Civil War is debated, but for certain, it was a part of it. Historians have knowledge of this, but the influence slavery had isn’t the key topic, it’s enough to say it was part of the equation.
Since slavery is part of the equation, the flag representing the side that was fighting for the equation is associated with it.
“That flag represents slavery.”
“That flag doesn’t represent slavery; it represents my Southern heritage.”
“Your heritage was involved in fighting to keep slavery intact.”
“No, I was born and raised in the South, that is all it means.”
Back to me.
I was taught in history that slavery was a catalyst for the war but wasn’t what it was all about. That was taught by a high school history teacher, and no doubt that person was taught that by their schooling or textbook or whatever was used to form that opinion. Therefore I feel that person believed what they said. Does that matter? Indeed, it does. Most times, it is WHY a person does something, not necessarily WHAT they actually do. Two people fight, it’s one thing. Two people fight because they hate the others skin color? That’s another thing.
So …. Those that have objections to the Confederate flag cannot separate slavery from that symbol. They just can’t, or it doesn’t serve the purpose.
For most people, it’s the “can’t,” and I understand that.
Why do I now get that? Is it that I couldn’t understand the perspective before just 20 minutes ago? No, that’s not it, I kindof got it. But now I UNDERSTAND it.
WHY do I now UNDERSTAND it?
I understand it now because I cannot separate what my family members (grandparents, uncles) went through while in the service under our great flag, for our great nation.
When people stomp on the flag, or burn the flag, or disrespect the flag in any way, I immediately think of my Grandpa Henry. He went through several campaigns in Italy and even guarded Bonito Mussolini’s body when he was taken down. I think of my Uncle Jimmy going up and down rivers in a PT boat taking fire and being lucky to have lived through it. I think of Grandpa Johnson, John Begley, the Husic family members, and others that I’m not immediately remembering. What they went through for the flag resonates deep within me.
When athletes kneel, they say, “It’s not about the military or service members, it’s about civil rights.” I hear you, and am sympathetic and fight for the cause, but I cannot separate what I associate with the flag and what you are doing in front of it. You just can’t put them in different boxes. When you buy a car, you get a steering wheel. It just comes with the vehicle. Same here.
Does the above sound anything like what is going on with the Confederate flag and the association to slavery? Yes, it does. Immediately both sides of this issue are going to say, “BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME!!”
Oh, yes, it is. You don’t think it is because you have a perspective. Your mind will slam shut and start spouting off this and that.
Open your mind. Know that people have associations to flags, and you have a DIFFERENT association. It makes 100% sense to each person on what their association is, and the others are just stupid idiots, right?
Yeah, sometimes, but that is just a small amount of people. Your normal everyday citizen isn’t the people who are causing the majority of the problems.
Now I know you. You are saying “Yeah they need to open their damn minds and ….”
No, I’m taking to YOU. This is about YOU realizing the thought process is the SAME, from a different point.
Can YOU understand my perspective on the American flag? Can I understand YOUR perspective on the Confederate flag? I do NOW because I have been thinking about it for several weeks.
I desire to think from the point of understanding. Not apologetic, as I wasn’t alive when all this happened, AND I fight for all humans. I don’t HAVE to say any lives matter because it was never a question in my mind. I’ve taken beatings for other people, just because they couldn’t. Having said that, I get what “Black Lives Matter” means. Solidarity, brothers, and sisters.
So, have you stopped to ponder if your perspectives on the Confederate flag and the American flag contradict each other? Can you understand your point of view but not someone else’s? Are you striving to open your mind and be willing to say, “Yeah, I get what you are saying, and you know what? I’m going to ponder upon it a bit.”
I CAN’T, in good conscience, say, “They are disrespecting my and all service members who fought under the flag” and NOT say, “I understand the associations you are making on the Confederate flag.” You should be able to do both.
Stay safe. Now back to cleaning the garage.