Where is the Outrage?

LicenseFrom the USA Today:

Rep. Donald Brown, a Republican from the Panhandle, introduced HB 1007 last week. It directs state officials to develop and issue tags that "contain an emblem or logo of Florida’s historic Confederate flags and facsimiles of the buttons issued to Florida Confederate units."

The $25 surcharge for these "Confederate Heritage" tags would fund educational and historical programs offered by Sons of Confederate Veterans.  A spokesman for the group tells our corporate cousins at the Tallahassee Democrat that they have 30,000 people who are ready to buy the tags if they’re approved.

"We’ve done everything required of us," Bob Hurst tells the Democrat. "All we’re asking for is to be treated fairly and equally. There are 108 specialty tags now and six before the Legislature this year. I hope the governor and Legislature will play by the rules; if not, I think it speaks poorly of the Florida Legislature."

Just one question for Rep. Hurst.  Do any of the other 108 specialty tags include contested images akin to the Confederate battle flag?  Were any of those images carried in Florida streets as a symbol of "Massive Resistance" during the Civil Rights Movement?

What I find outrageous, however, is that the SCV supports this kind of program.  After all, aren’t these the very same people who constantly refer us to the flag’s sacred qualities which they believe demand our utmost respect.  And yet, they are willing to plaster the very same image on the back of a car just inches from its fuel exhaust.  What a bunch of hypocrites.

Click here for an earlier post on how Confederate enthusiasts show their respect for the flag.

22 thoughts on “Where is the Outrage?

  1. Tim Abbott

    According to the application procedure which must have been completed for this plate to have reached the legislature in bill form,the applicant’s conducted a professional survey of Florida car owners that found more than 30,000 who indicated their interest in having such a plate. The application fee of $60,000 must have been a hit for the SCV, but maybe they are banking on those extra dollars that would come their way as beneficiaries of these plates. However, if there are fewer than 1,000 valid users of a specialty plate in any 12 month period, it will be discontinued.

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  2. Wayne Fielder

    First comment here, you do great work.

    Couple things jump to mind with this.

    First, they have the 1st National and the Bonnie Blue as SECONDARY to the 1st Virginia battle flag. If they are all about “heritage” should they have maybe the 1st and 3rd National rather than a symbol hijacked by the Klan? Seems like they are just trying to poke the lion in the cage.

    Second, and speaking of the lion in the cage, just wait until the folks in Dade county and the other southeastern counties catch wind of this. We Republicans are used to getting beaten about the head and shoulders with the “race” card so maybe the Florida Republicans are used to it like the rest of us.

    I’m all for remembering the Confederate soldier. They served their would-be nation with honor. Union or Confederate, we all had our atrocities but the average common soldier on both sides were good people. What chaps my bum is when someone decides to play a political game with that memory. It seems that some SCV folks have crossed that line and then they wail and gnash their teeth because someone calls them “racist”. Come on guys, remember your veterans but do it with honor and a little common sense. Here in Kentucky we could “honor” our Union vets by extolling on their Unionist tendencies. We are celebrating Lincoln’s bicentennial this year. Do you think it would be a “common sense” thing to do to remind people that Kentucky did NOT support Lincoln during the war years? That our elected Governor in 1864 found his Lieutenant Governor BANISHED FROM THE STATE because of his anti-Lincoln rhetoric? No. That wouldn’t make sense in this time of remembrance.

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  3. Robert Moore

    What is that saying, “do as I say, not as I do” or whatever… Don’t be so surprised at the way the SCV goes about much of anything anymore. Speaking of one who has been there, done that, and left many years of affiliation with that organization behind me… well, this is part of why I left the organization. Let me place particular emphasis on “a part of why” I left the organization, as there were many issues behind it. Mostly it is over the disgust at how radical many members have become and how the “leadership” of that organization allows it to go on. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone in the SCV is a “lost cause” (sorry, I just couldn’t resist), but there are enough of them in high places that are continually decaying any hope of the organization being taken seriously about anything. Quite honestly, it is a mockery of the bulk of Confederate veterans who lived in years after the war. I could speak volumes about this…

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  4. Robert Moore

    Just a little something to add to Wayne’s comment. It was an interesting thing, but within the past couple of years, the SCV officially adopted the Confederate battleflag as their symbol. Knowing the history of the UCV, I was not at all happy with that decision. I can’t find the exact reference right now, but the UCV made it clear that the battleflag could not be used by the SCV, that it was their (the veterans’) flag. It was decided, however, that the SCV could use the third national. Just a fine example of how the SCV throws to the wind (actually they probably didn’t bother to check anyway) the desires of the very veterans they say they honor.

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  5. Kevin Levin

    Wayne, — Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment and thanks for the kind words. I wanted to take a minute to respond to your questions toward the end. I don’t believe that commemoration and historical accuracy are mutually exclusive choices. In fact, I think it is important to come to terms with the complexity of the past. I am an advisor for Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial and we are planning a wide range of activities that commemorate by trying to come to terms with the past. This involves holding seminars, conducting tours, and educational outreach in the schools. There is no reason why Kentucky cannot follow suit. The danger is when our public memory is reduced to a narrative that serves some narrowly-defined interest and excludes on grounds that have little to do with history.

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  6. Robert Moore

    Sorry, but one more thing to add. I find it curious that the SCV representatives said that they have 30,000 waiting to buy the tag. That, my friends, is touting numbers, which the SCV loves to do these days to help reinforce any point that they try to make. There are not 30,000 SCV members in Florida. Maybe they are counting people other than SCV members in the state (which I think would also be a long-shot), but that number is remarkably close to the total number that the entire SCV claims to have in its membership (and even that number is subject to debate considering the arguments at play right now about loss of membership because of radical leanings of the SCV in recent years).

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  7. Chris Paysinger

    Kevin,

    I believe that Alabama already has a similar tag. I’m sure you’re surprised. Being an Alabamian, I’m not. I can’t exactly remeber the organization of the tag but I’m sure it has the “Stars and Bars”.

    Chris

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  8. Robert Moore

    Those Virginia SCV plates are another interesting topic of discussion. I’d be curious to know, exactly, what percentage of those who have the plate are actually members of the SCV. After all, the DMV doesn’t check “your” most recent SCV membership card when “you” renew the plate. I am well aware of several who have the plate – having joined the SCV just to get it – who are no longer members.

    Curious thing, the drive to create a Robert E. Lee plate (for the 200th birthday this year) failed. Those trying to make it a reality couldn’t get 350 people (the required number to get a specialty plate in Virginia) to sign-on that they would actually purchase the plate.

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  9. Kevin Levin

    Robert, — Interesting point. The lack of interest clearly mirrors the overall lack of interest for the Lee Bicentennial. That said, I am pleased by the fact that the high profile events were scholarly in orientation. A few examples include the day-long event held at Washington and Lee back in November as well as a month-long symposium here at UVA which I took part in.

    The one goofy event sponsored by the Southern League which took place last spring received a little attention but did not attract much interest apart from the diehards that lap up that heritage nonsense.

    I think it is a positive sign for the Sesquicentennial here in Virginia.

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  10. Woodrowfan

    I rarely see the Virginia SCV plate up here in Fairfax/Arlington. There are some but it’s much more common to see school alum pl8ts. Doesn’t Maryland have an SCV pl8te as well? I think I’ve seen one once or twice.

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  11. Robert Moore

    Yes, the SCV has a plate in Maryland and in N.C., as well as a few other states. There was actually an effort by some to have a plate in West Virginia, but I think that wasn’t even considered by the state government (go figure!).

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  12. LostCause

    Kevin, I’m very impressed with your work.  I’m an SCV member, just joined a year ago….and I’m starting to wonder what the hell I got myself into.  H.K. Edgerton has suddenly morphed into Nathan Bedford Forrest. The deeper I get into this, the more I realize how SCV is doing it’s damndest to squander whatever credibility they have on revisionist bunk like Black Confederates…  If it is true that so many Blacks willingly served in the Confederate cause…what does that say about my white Southern ancestors?  Guess that the anti-war hippies of the Vietnam era weren’t the first Americans to “spit on their own veterans”. hey…….us crackers were first….
     
    Seems like some in SCV are perfectly happy to have our ancestor’s memory hijacked if it fits with a far-right modern day agenda they agree with….next we’re gonna be hearing that Jim Crow was forced on the South by the “liberals” in the North…….Bull Conner was really a liberal secretly working with Martin Luther King…..and on FOX News, we’ll be treated to “Documentaries” showing us how brave white policemen. along with thousands of Black Confederate descendents, battled the Yankee financed Islamo-fascist Negro terrorists in the streets of Selma in 1965.

    The last 200 years never happened….it was all made up by Dan Rather in concert with the New York Times.

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  13. Notthemayor

    Besides the fact that the Confederate flag is a relic of an armed rebellion against the duly established government of the United States and has no rightful place outside of cemeteries, museums and historical sites…

    WHAT CONFEDERATE HERITAGE???

    Estimates of the number of men who served in the Confederate armed forces range from as low as 500,000 to as high as 2 million.

    Florida provided approximately 15,000 troops to the Confederacy.

    Meaning that Florida troops accounted for possibly as little as 3/4 of 1%, or 0.0075, of the fighting men of the Confederacy!

    DELAWARE probably has more of a Confederate heritage than Florida, and it fought with the Union!

    Somebody PLEASE buy Representative Brown a history book!

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  14. Border

    “Besides the fact that the Confederate flag…has no rightful place outside of cemeteries, museums and historical sites…”
    ================================================

    When was this law passed?

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  15. Traveler

    The big question is, what is the money raised from the sale of tags going to be used for? Right now it seems that the group is more interested in putting up battle flags at every major interstate intersection in the state. Go to the Florida Sons website and go to the contacts section of their site and their committee for Flags across Florida has four members and the committee for Flag Restoration is vacant. I think that speaks volumns. If they wanted to blow $60,000 on something why not restore the REAL flags that are in REAL need of restoration.

    I have read that if their measure fails the house they will probably pursue the issue further blowing another chunk of money. Again wouldn’t this money be better utilized in restoring the REAL battle flags?

    As for Heritage has this group done anything for Confederate Heritage? Looking at the Florida website, regarding heritage, they have not posted anything since 2000 and the National website boast about battles with the NCAA and NASCAR. I have read where they are flying banners around racetracks. Is that heritage? Is that what the money made off the tags are going to be used for? Funding lawsuits over Confederate flag t-shirts? Buying Flags every four months to fly all over Florida? What is Heritage to them? Placing battle flags for political purposes or funding flags in REAL need of restoration?

    If this bill passes will this money be used to restore the flags that are in need or will it be used to erect flags all over Florida and for political purposes? I am sure they will say restoration of the flags but the proof is in the pudding, little has been done in restoring the REAL battleflags. If the bill does pass I hope the organization is forced to put the money into REAL heritage (flag restoration). Go support a REAL group of heritage preservationist, the Civil War Preservation Trust. At least they are out there saving what is REAL.

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  16. Kevin Levin

    Traveler, — Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Of course, I can’t comment on how funds are used in these organizations, but I agree that the restoration of Confederate battle flags for proper display in museums would be ideal. It is telling that these groups seem to place much of their energy into these high-profile projects which they must know by now will cause controversy. With the Civil War Sesquicentennial right around the corner one would think that they would be planning appropriate events.

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