Thursday, July 28, 2011

NAACP Goes After Dixie’s Battle Flag … Again

NAACP Goes After Dixie’s Battle Flag … Again
SC’s Gov. Haley Won’t Fall For It.
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


Wrong Crusade.  Wrong flag.  Wrong state. That about sums up the NAACP’s perennial crusade to have the Confederate Battle Flag removed from the Confederate Memorial on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina.  That battle has been fought – and the NAACP lost. They will lose again.

Here’s why:

Every attack by the NAACP on the Confederate Battle Flag only intensifies the determination of my fellow “Sandlappers” to rally ‘round that flag and defend it from all comers.  They feel, and rightly so, the Battle Flag is being unjustly vilified by people, regardless of color, who do not know the history of the flag and/or don’t care about the Battle Flag’s glorious past -- as a battle field emblem -- and have no regard for our confederate great grandfathers who fought, bled, and died beneath it’s beautiful Saint Andrew’s Cross.  That gets the ire of my fellow Sandlappers stoked to a white-hot blaze and, like their ancient Celt ancestors, they ready themselves for war.

You need to know a couple of things.  First:  The Confederate Battle Flag was not the National Flag of the Confederacy.  No.  It was a battlefield emblem … only.  People who think of it as a national flag have, apparently, allowed Hollywood and the mainstream media to create for them an incorrect version of history. 

There were three national flags of the Confederacy.  NONE of them was the Confederate Battle Flag.  The Confederate Battle Flag never flew over slavery – whereas, the flag of the United States of America flew over slavery for 258 years.

The Confederate Battle Flag was moved from the dome of the SC State House in 2000 to the Confederate Memorial where it remains today.  It was a compromise made by the SC legislature.  It was a compromise they didn’t have to make and one I heartily disagreed with -- and still do.  I firmly believe had the question been put to the people of my home state, by way of referendum, that glorious old flag would still be snapping defiantly in the pine-scented breezes sweeping off the sandhills and red clay of the foot hills.

When the Battle Flag was removed to the Confederate Memorial, the NAACP demanded that it be removed from that location.  They apparently wanted the proud ensign banished from public view.

When the SC legislature said “this far and no farther!”  The NAACP began their boycott of the state, which continues today. Even today the National Collegiate Athletic Association continues to enforce a partial boycott of postseason sports events in South Carolina. 

The boycott backfired -- as it was bound to do from day one.  South Carolina’s tourism business has not suffered -- at all. In fact, there have been reports that tourism has grown into a 15 billion dollar industry under that boycott.

The people of South Carolina are a proud bunch.  They take pride in being singled out as the target of a boycott, especially when the reasons for the boycott are based on incorrect assumptions and incorrect, or revised, history.

South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, herself the descendant of East Indians, is about as conservative as they come in one of the most conservative and most republican states in the US.  She is not about to become entangled in a matter that was settled eleven years ago.  In fact, simply by ignoring the NAACP’s continuous demands, concerning the removal of the Battle Flag, her favorable poll numbers will climb.  

In an article in the Post and Courier of Charleston,  “Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, who is black, said the NAACP's comments are fuel for Haley to make a win politically. By standing by her position, the governor stands to be crowned "Miss Conservative," Ford said.

Haley and NAACP leaders need to focus on their work as public servants, Ford said. What's more, Ford said the public wouldn't be so persuaded by political antics if children were better educated about civics.

"The NAACP needs to concentrate on jobs, jobs, jobs and education, education, education and a better standard of living for African-Americans and minorities in this country," Ford said. "The flag is in the right place historically."

Ford played a leading role in brokering the deal to move the battle flag to the monument.”  (You may read the entire article HERE.)

I am the direct descendant of a whole slew of Confederate soldiers. I am immensely proud of that. I am a proud (and active) member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization dedicated to preserving the history and good name of the Confederate soldier.  The Confederate Battle Flag is the center of the SCV logo.  Why?  Because those brave, gallant, Knights of the South served beneath her folds.  Thousands upon thousands made the ultimate sacrifice in her shadow.

The Confederate Battle Flag stands for defiance in the face of tyranny.  Even today, around the world, when tyranny is being confronted, somehow the Confederate Battle Flag seems to magically appear.

Generally speaking, we Americans have forgotten who we are. I contend that if we Americans knew our history, and knew how our government is supposed to work within the constraints of the constitution, America would not be in the mess we find ourselves in today. 

My confederate ancestors knew some things were worth fighting and dying for. Their constitutional rights, state’s rights, were being denied them by an overbearing US government.  When years and years of trying to reason with national leaders failed, and threats to secede and form their own nation, ruled by the voice of the people, also failed -- they had no choice but to separate themselves and go it alone.

The US realized that without the South, they had no money to run their own government, and Lincoln’s troops invaded my ancestor’s new country, the Confederate States of America. Between 600,000 and 700,000 Americans died as a result.  The South was ruined – more by the so-called “Reconstruction” than by the war itself.

The brave men who served beneath the Confederate Battle Flag deserve every accolade bestowed upon them.  Denigrating their battlefield flag is a disgrace and a deep, deep, insult -- not just to their memory -- but to their descendants, as well.

J. D. Longstreet  

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