I suppose I’ve known for some time that this (tearing down Confederate battle flags) was going to happen, eventually. Even I am convinced that it needs to be done now, for the immediate greater good.
But it still doesn’t feel right. In more than 60 years of studying the Civil War, I never, for one second, doubted that the right side won the war. That is, until now. I don’t suppose that very many among us are ever going to figure out that we have just told tens of millions of Americans that the lives and suffering of their granddaddies just don’t matter.
I can’t imagine veterans anywhere having a warm fuzzy feeling about the fact that we are going to begin to pick and choose, on a whim, which veterans we honor and which ones we scorn. Apparently, it isn’t enough, any more simply to have answered the call to duty when asked. For those who do get it, I can’t imagine that there isn’t going to be some serious backlash.
I can’t imagine George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, or even Martin Luther King Jr endorsing an American Dream that tells any portion of our society, “I’m sorry. We just can’t allow you to have a proud heritage any more because it offends other people.”
What do we do when we figure out that hatred isn’t about flags of any kind? Are the people around the world who have been hating us and burning American flags for decades better off for it? What do we do after we find out that this has not eradicated racism and hatred? What do we do after we find out that this has ultimately created new hatred where there was none before? What do we do next? Where do we find the next magic hat?
North Myrtle Beach
The writer lives in XXXX.