July 7, 2015
Not since the Shroud of Turin has a piece of cloth generated so much controversy, but the Confederate battle flag is definitely giving it a run for its money these days. Since the heinous mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC which left 9 black churchgoers dead at the hands of a twisted racist young man, the Confederate battle flag has been the focus of public scrutiny. It began with a call to remove the flag from the Confederate War Memorial which is located on the SC Statehouse grounds and progressed to absurd proportions.
- Calls to rename streets, schools and other buildings named after Confederate generals.
- Calls to rename or entirely remove other Confederate war memorials.
- Large retailers removing Confederate flag merchandise from their stores, including Dukes of Hazzard merchandise due to the flag on the roof of the Dukes car, The General Lee.
- The actual Dukes of Hazzard TV show reruns being removed from the TV Land line-up.
- Wal-Mart refusing to make a Confederate flag designed cake, but making an ISIS flag cake without issue.
These are just a few of the absurd levels to which people have gone, not to mention pro-golfer Bubba Watson, who owns an original General Lee car used in the Dukes TV show, vowing to paint over the flag on the roof with an American Flag. With all of this hyperbolic absurdity swirling about two states have made significant stands on the issue of the Confederate battle flag.
The first being South Carolina where it all began. State Senators voted 37-3 on Monday to take down the flag and the pole it flies on, both of which were erected in 2000 as part of a compromise that involved removing the flag from atop the Statehouse dome. The vote was well over the two-thirds majority that will be needed Tuesday to send the bill on to the House. While the flag is on the Statehouse grounds technically, it actually flies above the Confederate War Memorial next to the Statehouse, though possibly not for very much longer.
Meanwhile in Florida…
Last week Marion County Florida the county administrator had the Confederate flag removed from the government complex in Ocala. It flew as part of the five “nations” flag memorial. It was replaced by a Marion County Seal flag amidst the flag controversy going nationwide. Today, Marion County commissioners voted unanimously to put the Confederate flag back up at the county’s government complex. Within minutes of vote, the Civil War-era flag was seen flying once again outside the government complex as one of the five national flags which have flown over Florida since European explorers first landed on its shores more than 500 years ago. The other four are Spanish, French, British and American flags.
The national bi-polar reaction to Confederate-era flags seems to be something that is going to stick with us for longer than the typical news cycle public outrage generally lasts. Driven largely by the outlandish overreactions (TV show cancellation and cakes) as well as the massive push back from those who support the continued flying of the flag. Supporters see it as a representation of Southern Heritage or simply as a reminder of a painful history that we not forget, lest we repeat it. Either way, it seems as though it will be a regular News topic for the foreseeable future and those who do not wish to see it anymore will likely see it more than ever.