Yee-haw! What is that Crazy Cooter (of that old redneck TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” fame), otherwise known as actor and former Democratic congressman from Georgia Ben Jones, up to now? Oh nothing, just going on CNN to argue in favor of allowing descendants of Confederate soldiers to drive around with the Stars and Bars on their license plates in yet the latest instance of the “Everybody gets a trophy” mentality that has infected America in recent years. Cool, nothing we like more than still arguing over this crap in 2015.
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Walker vs. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. (No, not Walker, Texas Rangers, you comedians.) The Court is considering whether the state of Texas erred on First Amendment grounds when it did not approve for official use a specialty license plate with the SCV’s Confederate flag logo on it.
Wait, Texas did that? Huh.
At issue is the state’s reasoning, which for legal purposes is not “Most of the feedback we received from the public over this design was negative and we have so many other ways of making our state look like a backwards redoubt of retrograde asshattery and holy shit it has been 150 years will you guys get the hell over it already?” Instead, Texas argues that the plate could be seen as “government speech” praising a traitorous regime dedicated to the preservation of the racist roots of America’s burgeoning economic power in the nineteenth century. Or, as the Sons of Confederate Veterans call it, “Our heritage, dangnabit!”
The 5th Circuit Court originally found for the SCV.
A reasonable observer would conclude that the driver of the vehicle, not Texas, was the speaker honoring the Civil War dead, the panel decided.
And it said the board members had engaged in viewpoint discrimination by adopting the negative view of the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism and slavery, rather than the organization’s view that it was simply honoring ancestors who had fought bravely in a lost cause.
Yeah yeah, heritage not hate, et cetera, world without end, amen.
Which brings us to Jones, who today made a great case for the possibility that all those head injury-inducing car crashes we saw on “The Dukes of Hazzard” were not performed by a stunt driver.
“The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a proud heritage organization, 30,000 members who are descended from those who fought for the Confederacy,” Jones explained. “And we’re not ashamed of that. That’s our family, that’s our DNA, and we are a heritage organization.”
Jones insisted that his group wanted “reconciliation in the South and among the races.”
“That was what Dr. King wanted, and these tactics that they’re using are very divisive, they’re very offensive to us.”
Yep, Jones is arguing that calling the Sons of Confederate racists and oppressors and Nazis is entirely too divisive, and not what Martin Luther King would have wanted, even though the Confederacy and its founding principles were the living embodiment of racist oppression. Sure, Southern racists made a habit of waving Confederate flags at King and his followers when they were marching for civil rights back in the 1950s and ‘60s. But Jones knows King would have been magnanimous in his eventual victory, because he himself was active in the civil rights movement and “went through the whole thing with Dr. King.”
And if that’s true, we have a bridge in Selma to sell you!
The Supreme Court will likely side with the 5th Circuit, as it has done in similar cases in Virginia and Maryland in the past. None of which changes our opinion that Ben Jones should fuck off back to wherever he has been for the last 20 years and stay there, whining about being the victim until he’s dead, which will hopefully, mercifully shut him up.