Is the Battle Flag More Fun?
Why is the left is so intent upon removing the Confederate battle flag from public display? After all, everybody knows that outside a handful of skinheads, people don’t display the Confederate battle flag in order to celebrate America’s “original sin.” We’re long past slavery. Well, not the race hustlers like “they’re going to put y’all back in chains” Joe Biden or his boss – not to mention perennial White House guest and tax cheat Al Sharpton and spiritual counselor to presidents Jesse Jackson. But, by and large, everybody else is past slavery.
Then there’s the point where the campaign may backfire – indeed, wind up infusing the Confederate battle flag with a new and more powerful meaning. After all, there’s a towering example in what happened when the Confederates, refusing to leaving well enough alone, fired on the Stars and Stripes at Fort Sumter.
Yet the left is resolved. And the real reason is not all that difficult to puzzle out. Indeed, Richard Fausset puts his finger on it at the New York Times (July 7, 2015) when he writes that the Confederate battle flag is “a revered symbol, not only of the Confederate dead, but of a unique regional identity.”
That “unique regional identity” is a fork in the liberal’s eye. Liberals have somehow gotten their teeth into the idea that if they can destroy the Confederate battle flag, it will go a long ways toward getting the South to shut up, to abandon that unique regional identity. Not all at once – not even the most fervent de Blasio supporter or dug in Marin County Socialist would hope for that. But at least start chipping away at the South’s pantheon of heroes, its foundation myth, its speech, its cooking, its music, its literature, and its engrained and peculiar affection for the Christian religion and ornery individuals.
But much more importantly, ever so much more importantly, liberals hope that if you take that flag away, the South can be made to begin shedding its abiding esteem for bravery, property rights, guns, business, and traditional families.
Because that vibrant culture offers an attractive alternative civilization to the one the liberals have been so carefully crafting elsewhere. There is a windowless “box” they’re trying to get every American inside, with no heroes except those designated by Washington, no competing allegiances like church or family, no other way to live except by fawning dependence, no enterprise except what is sanctioned and intensely regulated. The whole ruled by an elite.
Liberals’ problem with America is that there’s no secret police or hired mercenaries, as there were in Russia, to drive people into the box. People have to walk in on their own. And, drawn by government benefits or the jealousy liberals forever inflame, many have.
But it’s not enough, because as hard as liberals have tried to drape the box in bright colors, it doesn’t look as though there’s a whole lot of happy going on in there. Indeed, the sight of it produces an ever widening split between red and blue states and counties – a division that actually has more people on the red side of the divide than the blue, and so may end the liberal ascendancy.
Because the red side, typified by the South, is a lot more fun.
That’s the rub. As a Christian, you take to heart Christ’s admonition in the Sermon on the Mount that life is good and God the Father sent it to you to enjoy, which is why Gospel music and country music, the music of the South, are so intertwined. And while the South is labeled the land of guns by liberals, what it actually is is the land of socials and singing. And the special joy and attraction of the South are that unlike those people in the box, whose children go one way while they go another, the Southern social is first and foremost a children’s crusade – after church, at tractor pulls and rodeos, parades and memorials, tailgating football games, high school football games.
Southern men don’t fuss over gear and then posture fly fishing; they bass fish or shark fish with their sons and daughters and grandparents. Same with shooting. The same in a very special way with hunting. New York State once commissioned a study on why people hunt. It turns out there’s a number of reasons, but heading the list is culture. In one anecdote a man explained that years after his dad passed on, he’ll set up in the woods and still get “the scent of my father.”
In the South and West, and in many counties in the North, life is all about the scent of your father.
Visit one of the huge country western bars. To the disgust of liberals, the young people there seem to want to grow up to be just like the older folks they’re dancing next to. And you can’t stop them.
And that’s why liberals want to kill the Confederate battle flag.
Because Texas is more fun than Chicago, Wyoming than the Bronx, the Shenandoah than Oakland. Coyote Ugly with a chorus line of pretty girls in cowboy hats, jeans, and cowboy boots dancing on a bar is more fun than sipping wine on the East Side. Your home, your church – more fun. And safer is more fun, too, than the blue-state liberal view of crime as a sociological phenomenon best addressed by counseling. (If your child is being raised in an Obama county, you have five times the chance of being murdered than a child raised in a county that voted for Romney.)
And despite the trembling politicians and weathervane corporate business leaders, conservatives can take heart in the fact that the liberal anti-battle flag campaign doesn’t appear to be working. Not among the folk. Indeed, to the contrary; otherwise, the big New York-based online flag retailer American Flags wouldn’t have posted the following advisory on its website:
Please be advised that due to unprecedented demand for our confederate flags, shipping may take several weeks. We do, however, have them in stock and orders will be shipped in the order they are received, so reserve your confederate flag today!
Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD. He lives and writes in the colonial era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York, blogs at richardfminiterblog.com, and can be reached at email@example.com.