Pick Wayne's Brain

August 23, 2015

The Rebel Flag Is Not About ‘Patriotism’

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 10:52 PM

So the Weekend Folks at Fox and Friends (say that three times backwards in front of a candle-lit mirror and it will summon them) are having a sad over the decline in acceptability of the Battle Flag of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (hereafter conveniently, if technically inaccurately, known as the Confederate Flag, the Rebel Flag, the Traitor Flag, The Slavery Lover Flag, the Racist Flag, and the White Supremacist Flag II) because they wrongly believe it’s because Liberals are trying to ban all expressions of “patriotism.”

Before going on to hear what an actual documentarian on the Civil War has to say about what it, and the battles flags under which the South fought, represented, let’s clear up a couple of things. First Tucker “This is not about a school district in Tennessee” Carlson. it is about what’s happening in this one county school district in Tennessee. That would be the first thing an actual journalist would make clear to his audience, but I digress. Second, it wasn’t “Liberals” who were “banning the American flag.” it was the county officials in this one school district. Now, FTR, I think they went too far in banning all flags, especially the American Flag. It’s without question a violation of First Amendment rights, but so too is the banning of the Confederate Flag. Don’t misunderstand me. It may sound like I’m agreeing with Tucker Carlson, but I am not. In this instance, he happens to be right about it being wrong for them to ban all flags, but he’s right for entirely the wrong reasons. He wants to turn what is a simple violation of First Amendment rights into a baseless attack on Liberals and Liberalism, by using the tried and true Conservative tactic of the false framing, or straw man argument.

To continue with the Wrongness of Being Tucker, he tried to blame what’s happening in this on, well, you try to make sense of this:

“This is a about a long-term trend where the people who run everything — the elites in Washington, New York and L.A. — despise rural America and its culture, suspect anybody that doesn’t live in their cities of being a bigot, and they’re trying to crush that culture by banning its symbols.”

While it true that Dickson County is represented by a Democrat in the House, he had nothing whatsoever to do with this local policy change. Nor did anyone in New York. Nor did anyone in L.A. Nor do the people in Washington, New York and L.A. “despise rural America and its culture.” In this free society, people who live on the coasts have chosen to live a different lifestyle than those who live in the middle of the country. It’s not an either/or choice, Tucker. It’s not a matter of binary thinking – that if you like one thing you must hate the other. Liberals, whom you despise for the way we think, do not think the way you think we think. You are projecting, and it is showing us how YOU think about the situation. And we don’t think of anyone who doesn’t live in our cities of being a bigot. The explanation is similar to what John Stuart Mill said about Conservatives. “While it true that not all conservative people are stupid, it is most certainly true that most stupid people are conservative.” (Some 300 years later, scientific studies have confirmed this.) It’s not that people in the cities think of the people in rural America as bigots, it’s that bigots tend to prefer not to live in the multi-cultural cities on the coasts. It’s not that everybody in rural America is a bigot, it’s that most bigots prefer to live in rural America. What concerns people like me is how welcome they are to live there. But that’s a topic for another post, as my grandfather used to say before he died in 1959. (He was ahead of his time.)

I’ll get back to why what you said is bullshit, but first let’s make clear about what this “heritage,” this “culture,” you’re referring to really is. I won’t give it away by mentioning “Slavery.” Oops.

It’s not that we want to “crush” that culture (there you go projecting again, believing that we Liberals think of resolving differences of opinion through violent conflicts), it’s that we want people to understand the truth about what that flag represents. It represents a way of life that is no longer American. That heritage, that culture, you so lovingly defend even though you were born and raised in California, was founded on the premise of White Supremacy, and the simple proof of that is the way black people have been treated even 150 years after the war ended. That part of the country has never wanted to accept black people as equals. Not legally, not officially, not formally, but worst of all, not honestly. Tucker blathered on.

“Not just the Confederate flag, but the American flag,” he continued. “They hate expressions of patriotism. It makes them uncomfortable. Let’s be honest.”

If you’re equating a love of the Rebel Flag with patriotism, I’m going to have to ask you which dictionary you’re using because, by definition, the Rebel Flag (the one used by the Traitors) cannot be called a flag of Patriotism equal to that earned by the American Flag (the winning side, I might add.) Like most of the Conservatives we hear on public media (there, I didn’t generalize too much) and the people who think they’re right (no, still not too much), Tucker Carlson engages in too much binary thinking because it’s the easiest kind of low-effort thinking there is. It’s one thing or its opposite. If you don’t support the American Flag 100% and everything she stands for, then you must be a Traitor (like those Rebels who denounced the United States and formed their own country and started a war with us.) If you’re uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you hate something. We are capable of nuance, of seeing shades of gray. What makes me uncomfortable about the public displays of patriotism I see are the bigoted, racist people doing it. I don’t like being associated with those people. The people who promote the symbols of Slavery are people whose values I do not share. And when you try to pass them off as good American citizens, I have to wonder from which dictionary you found your definition of “good.”

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1 Comment

  1. “The meaning that people attribute to a symbol or movement is malleable and not simply derived from selected components of its history.”~http://edge.ua.edu/steven-ramey/ironic-symmetry/#more-8782

    Comment by Stephanie — August 28, 2015 @ 9:08 AM


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