Mike Rowe is loved by millions and from time to time he takes on tough issues with a flair that few possess. His response to the Confederate flag issue drew him both praise and a significant rebuff from one of his fans.
Here’s just a snippet of what Mike had to say, you can read his fill statement HERE.
I think we need to be very careful about congratulating ourselves too enthusiastically for removing a piece of cloth from the public square – even if it’s removal is long overdue. I also think we need to stop calling people racist, just because they see the flag as something other than a symbol of hate. This is what happens when we put a premium on our feelings. We assume everyone who disagrees with us is not merely wrong, but dangerous.
I know many good Southerners who abhor racism, but view this flag as an important connection to their ancestors – the vast majority of whom never owned slaves. This doesn’t mean the flag should be allowed to fly on public property – not for a minute. But it’s a mistake in my view, to equate the removal of a symbol, with the removal of the evil it’s come to symbolize. And that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. We’re conflating cause and effect.
Amidst all the kudos for his thoughtful remarks, I found this from Michelle.
“While I normally find your comments spot on, it fills me with dismay that you have allowed propaganda to allow you to feel such anger toward an inanimate object. An object which many good men, black and white, died defending. The problem is not the flag. The problem is that history has been chipped away a little at a time. The problem is that we have become so politically correct in this country that we allowed the word “racist” to keep us silent when our heritage was besmirched, belittled, and rewritten. Regardless of what a few evil cowards do (and, yes, I believe all KKK are cowards), that flag does not equal racism where I am from. When my ancestors, some of whom were poor and some of whom were wealthy, were holding that flag they weren’t fighting to keep slavery alive. They were fighting for the freedom to export their goods to England without taxation from the north who didn’t want to pay the south the same prices they could get from overseas buyers. The north knew if they lost the supply of goods it would put them out of business. The north had all the factories and manufacturers, but the south had all the raw goods. England had put a small caveat in their agreement. They said they would not buy goods produced with slave labor. The southern plantations were already doing away with slavery on their own and the north knew they had to strike before this happened. They used slavery (which had only been abolished in the north a few years earlier) as a rallying cry. Furthermore, the largest slave owner of the time was a black man in Virginia.
I would also say this to all those who tell me the confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and oppression…
Slavery still exists in the world. In fact, the largest slave trade in the world exists, at this very moment, in Africa. Look it up. Google it. Read. Do you see people protesting the African flag? No. Do you hear about it on the news? No. Any Hollywood types getting in front of cameras and crying about how oppressed these people are and how we should remove all African flags to abolish hate? No. Anyone wanting to beat African slave traders heads in with a golf club?
It’s only an enlightened comment if it’s actually enlightened. At the end of the day, a flag is a piece of cloth. You choose how you’re going to feel about things. To say you allow a flag to cause feelings of hatred and potential violence when so many good people died defending it is, to me, hurtful and short-sighted.
I had family fighting on both sides in the Civil War just as I have had a family member fighting in every war this country has fought, including the American Revolution. I had a family member in the Continental Congress. I have a great-uncle still on the USS Arizona. I had two grandfathers who were prisoners of war during the Civil War and one who died at Gettysburg. To say I have deep roots in American history is an understatement.
I stand for the National Anthem and I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States with pride and conviction. I would give my life to defend this country and all that inhabit her, white and black. Does it make me a racist that I am also proud of my ancestors who fought for the south? Maybe. I’d hate to think every good quality and thought was erased because of pride in my family’s history of service. Maybe I am wrong though, Mike. Maybe I should hate them because over 150 years ago, in a different time and culture, they stood up for their rights and what they believed in. Maybe it’s me, but I think if more people were like those brave men and followed their convictions maybe this country wouldn’t be in the situation it’s in today. Forget about what the media wants you to believe. We are all the human race. We all have the same rights and abilities. Stand up for what you believe in and stop letting actors and media brain wash you about your neighbor. In short, buck up and do what’s right and it won’t matter what happened 150 years ago or even 10 years ago because you’ll be too busy reaping the rewards of what is happening now.”
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I’ll leave you with this thought from the book 1984 by George Orwell.
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell, 1984