So how about that Confederate flag? Now that it has a negative association for the first time ever, seems like everybody has decided to jump off the Confederate bandwagon, except of course for the diehard morons, of whom there are quite a few. Within hours of Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse, a whole bunch of other Republicans suddenly realized they had permission to get rid of the goddamned thing, too. Mitt Romney actually did something good in his life! The next domino fell Monday night, when Mississippi’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Philip Gunn, said it was time to remove the Confederate flag emblem from the state’s flag, too.
It’s also a hell of a way to act like you’re doing something while avoiding talking about guns.
Mississippi (Flag) Burning
Gunn, by the way, is a Republican, which proves Democrats are the REAL racists, and also something something Robert Byrd. The battle flag in the corner of the state flag was added — purely by coincidence — after the end of Reconstruction in 1894. Mississippi voted in a 2001 referendum to keep the current flag, but following Haley’s announcement in South Carolina, Gunn suddenly became aware that there was also a Confederate flag embedded in his own state’s flag, and issued a brief statement:
We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us. As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.
Earlier Monday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant had said that he doubted the Legislature would “supersede the will of the people on this issue;” he was traveling Monday night when Gunn made his announcement and was unavailable for comment.
Even so, there were some Mississippi Republicans who were quite happy to defend the beautiful Confederate imagery, like state Sen. Melanie Sojourner of Natchez, who responded on Facebook Saturday to Mitt Romney’s condemnation of the thing:
Mitt Romney’s call to action regarding the flying of one of this nation’s historical flags is an example of what is wrong with society today.
The flag was no more the “source” of horrible acts against mankind than a gun is the “source” of someones death. [sic] The “source” is the hatred and evil that resides in the hearts of some who live and have lived among us.
We all have a responsibility to make certain that it is the “source” we address and not place blame on something that alone could do no harm. Simply placing blame on something that some see as a symbol only perpetuates the problem.
It’s only a symbol, what’s the big deal? Also, it’s not one of “this nation’s historical flags” — it’s the flag of a no-longer-existing nation that was defeated by this nation. Really. You could look it up.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe, perhaps in an effort to cover up the fact that Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who’s been dead for five years, was in the KKK in the 1940s and that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, called for the state to stop putting the Confederate flag on Virginia license plates, now that the Supreme Court has said that it’s OK for states to decide what goes on their own plates. Speaking in Richmond, McAuliffe said on Tuesday:
As Governor Haley said yesterday, her state can ill afford to let this symbol continue to divide the people of South Carolina. I believe the same is true here in Virginia. Although the battle flag is not flown here on Capitol Square, it has been the subject of considerable controversy, and it divides many of our people … Even its display on state issued license tags is, in my view, unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many of our people.
Not surprisingly, there is resistance to the idea. Members of a group called the “Virginia Flaggers” — who are merely history buffs and proud of their ancestral ties to courageous Southern soldiers, mind you — has spent the last week parading around with the Confederate flag, just being all proud of their heritage n stuff. These are the same loons who bought a patch of land to put up a giant confederate flag next to Interstate 95 entering Richmond, which prompted one of the greatest photoshop trolls of the last year or so:
The Flaggers, who keep insisting that they are not a racist hate group, they just want to honor the brave soldiers who died for a treasonous racist hate nation, complained that it’s terrible that a troublemaking bunch of troublemakers, not to mention outside agitators, have stirred up trouble over the Confederate flag:
We are deeply saddened to watch the disgusting attempts by some media representatives, self-appointed ‘historians,’ activists, and even elected officials to exploit this national tragedy by using it for political purposes, and as an excuse to advance their hate-filled agenda, by calling for an all-out war on the Confederate flag and our Confederate heritage, beginning with the removal of the flag from a Veterans’ memorial on the Capitol grounds in South Carolina, over 100 miles away.
The group also posted a call to arms (metaphorical only, for sure, because they say right on their homepage that they abhor violence) on Facebook against Terry McAuliffe’s plans to phase out Confederate license plates:
Remember, they are not suggesting that any actual war has broken out, or that anyone should be “mad enough” to start shooting carpetbaggers. It’s all just colorful metaphor!
And Tennessee Too!
Now this is just getting out of hand. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam raised his hand and said “Me too!” when the “Who Wants To Dump Confederate License Plates?” truck drove up Tuesday. And he’s a Republican, too, so something something Robert Byrd KKK Ted Nugent. Haslam reportedly wasn’t even aware that some Tennessee plates carry the flag’s image, but he’d “be in favor of discontinuing it,” he said.
It’s like the Night They Drove Old Dixie’s License Plates down, innit?
Oregon Has A Confederate Flag on Display? WTF?
There’s also a minor kerfuffle over whether to take down a Mississippi flag flying in Salem, Oregon, in a “Walk of the Flags” display in a state park near the Capitol. State officials told The Oregonian newspaper that they’d heard no complaints about the flag, but Rep. Lew Frederick, one of two African Americans serving in the state legislature, did say he’d like to see it removed, because he finds the Confederate imagery a symbol of oppression. In an email reply to the paper, he wrote:
I hope that Oregon’s awareness of that will rise to the level of eliminating its display on government property in this state. There is no more reason to display the stars and bars than there is to display a swastika flag.
Frederick recalled growing up in the South, and the meaning of the Confederate imagery:
I grew up with this flag, and it was used around me for the same reasons it even exists. To taunt African Americans, to remind us of our status in the historical South, and to remind us of exactly what it symbolizes to those who carry or display it: Racism and their attachment to racism.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown said the governor was pleased that Nikki Haley had called for the Confederate flag’s removal, and that she hopes the Mississippi flag near her state’s capitol will come down too.
With any luck, Mississippi will just beat Oregon to it and change its flag to something nice, like maybe that Magnolia thing they used to have. Oregon likes trees.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. Also, Yr Doktor Zoom will be explaining American wingnuts to British insomniacs on BBC Radio 5’s “Up All Night” Tuesday, June 23, from 9:15-9:30PM EDT, livestream at http://bbc.co.uk/5live