Tuesday, March 1, 2011
It's deplorable that the Governor of Mississippi, who is supposedly preparing for a campaign for the Presidency of the United States, cannot take a stand about whether it is moral for the state of Mississippi to issue automobile license plates honoring Nathan Bedford Forest, a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. But, why am I surprised, when the Mississippi school textbooks call the Civil War "The War Of Northern Aggression"?
I am constantly astounded to see Confederate flags adorning homes and vehicles in Fayette County, Ohio.
Several years ago, we went to a birthday party at the home of one of my husband's family. There was a Confederate flag hanging from the porch. We had been there several times previously and the flag had not been displayed. I told my husband, "I won't be going in there." He said, "We're here, and we've brought a present." I said, "You can go in and I'll come back later and pick you up." My husband and I seldom have disagreements but he knew full well that I was not going to go in that house. He said, "You wait here." He took the present to the door and told them how I felt.
As they approached the car, I expected a huge, emotional confrontation, thinking that they would think that I had insulted them. Instead, the relative calmly asked, "Why would that offend you?" Stunned by his comity, my voice was trembling as I told them how offensive I found the flag. The relative said, "It's just about the "Dukes Of Hazzard"; I just have a collection of "Dukes of Hazzard" stuff; it's just fun." I asked, "Are you telling me that you don't know what that flag represents?"
He said that what it might mean to my "generation" wasn't the same as it meant to his. I asked, "Didn't you learn about it in history?" He said, "Well, yeah, about the Civil war, but I don't think it's a big deal today!" I said, "Those nutty people in the South are still fighting about the war and it IS a big deal!" I told him that they put falsehoods in their school textbooks and honor Jefferson Davis on his birthday!
He said that they would never want to offend me, but he didn't think it was important. I thought to myself, "You want people to think that a Southern sympathizer lives here?" but I did not say it.
I said, "I'll make you a deal; I'll bring you an American flag to display!" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "That's cool!"
The next day I took them a flag with a pole and staff to mount to the porch, along with a copy of flag etiquette which was free from the American Legion.
They took down the flag but I've often reflected that they thought it was "just" something about the Dukes of Hazzard!