Tag Archives: Confederate Flag

“Heritage, Not Hate”? Ask Medgar Evers

byron-de-la-beckwith-confederate-flag-2011-11-2-16-52-33On this day in 1963 Medgar Evers was assassinated. His murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, is shown here in front of his Mississippi home in 1990. Click here for some incredible photographs of Medgar Evers on the civil rights trail and following his death.

As for this photograph, it should give you some idea as to why reasonable Americans (both black and white) have little patience for the public display of the Confederate flag. Petty chants and bumper stickers announcing “Heritage, Not Hate” do nothing to erase the history of this banner.

Just ask Medgar Evers.

The True Face of the Southern Heritage Crowd

southern heritageThis story out of Hot Springs, South Dakota is truly bizarre and sad.  Recently a couple of African Americans veterans, who were being treated for PTSD at a VA Hospital, complained about a display that included Confederate flags.  Yeah, this is in South Dakota of all places.  At the time the flags were removed and then later placed back in the display.  Today the hospital decided to remove the flags once again.

To ensure the Hot Springs VA Medical Center is a place of healing for all Veterans, the Confederate flags will be removed from the Freedom Shrine display, located in the rotunda of the main building.  This action is consistent with continued accomplishment of the medical center’s core mission, which is to provide quality health care services to Veterans.  We thank everyone for their interest and concern for our Veterans and apologize to anyone offended by the display.

Again, why there are Confederate flags in a VA Hospital in South Dakota is anyone’s guess.  First, shame on the VA staff for returning the flags once these men complained.  As might be expected the Confederate heritage whackos are out in full force complaining about another heritage violation.  These people have absolutely no class, patriotism, and they lack sympathy.  These are men who served their country and are currently being treated for wounds sustained in the line of duty.  If removing those flags from a display helps to ease their pain, than so be it.  Is that really too much to ask given their service and sacrifice for this nation?  Continue reading

No Confederate License Plates in Texas

Palestine, Texas

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled earlier today that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles did not violate the First Amendment when it denied an application by the Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans for customized plates that depicted the Confederate flag.  Here are a few excerpts from the judge’s ruling.

“The issue before the court is this: does the First Amendment require a state government to place the Confederate battle flag on customized, special license plates at the request of a nonprofit organization which has otherwise complied with state rules governing issuance of such plates?” Sparks wrote.  He determined that the answer is no, not because specialty license plates constitute government speech, as the board claimed, but because the plates constitute a nonpublic forum.  He further found that the content of the SCV license plates drove the board’s decision, rather than the group’s viewpoint.

“The SCV repeatedly argues the fact the Buffalo Soldiers plate was approved indicates SCV was subjected to viewpoint discrimination,” Sparks wrote in the 47-page order. “SCV speculates Native Americans would be offended by the Buffalo Soldiers plate, because of the role played by African-American troops in the frontier wars of the nineteenth century. However, the record does not support this assertion: in contrast to the chorus of negative public comments raised against the SCV’s plate, there appears to have been no significant objection to the Buffalo Soldiers plate, rendering SCV’s assertion the Buffalo Soldiers plate is equally derogatory at best purely speculative.”

Sparks noted that, unlike the SCV plates, the Buffalo Soldiers plates lack an “inflammatory symbol comparable to the Confederate battle flag.”  The judge also noted that the group could turn to state lawmakers to get its license plates approved.  “Although suggesting a petitioner for judicial relief should look to the legislative branch for assistance is usually the practical equivalent of there being no relief available, here the Texas Legislature can and frequently has approved a variety of plates — including controversial plates, such as ‘Choose Life’ — by direct legislative action,” Sparks states.

The order concludes: “It is a sad fact the Confederate battle flag has been co-opted by odious groups as a symbol of racism and white supremacy. There is no reason to doubt the SCV and its members are entirely heartfelt in their condemnation of this misuse. It is to be hoped the passage of time, and efforts such as the SCV’s resolution, will eventually remove a blight from the flag under which feats of great heroism and fortitude were accomplished. All the traditional avenues of public discourse are open to those who would fully redeem the battle flag. Nevertheless, the state of Texas has chosen to abstain from this debate, and the First Amendment does not require it to open up state-issued license plates as an additional forum in which to contest the flag’s meaning.”

I find the judge’s thoughts re: the flag’s symbolism to be very strange.  How exactly do you “remove a blight” from a flag that was used between 1861- and 1865 to establish a nation built on slavery and later in the twentieth century as a visible symbol for the maintenance of the racial status quo?  The Confederate flag doesn’t need to be “redeemed” from anything.  What it deserves is a proper interpretation in a place that fosters serious reflection.

Oh well, I guess the Texas SCV can at least fall back on their recent victory in Palestine.  Where is Palestine, you ask?