Refreshing: Articulate Austin Residents Tackle Confederate Flag Controversy

In a refreshing twist on videos that purposely aim at exposing how Americans can be clueless about different subjects, reporter Lee Ann McAdoo hit the streets of Austin to find out what some residents think of the controversy which has recently embattled the Confederate battle flag.

McAdoo interviewed several well-informed and articulate people who can see trough all the recent hype about this venerable symbol, which, like any symbol, can and has been hijacked by some people and groups to support their various agendas.

tattered-confederateDesigned by William Porcher Miles, chairman of the Flag and Seal committee, the now-popular rectangular variant of the “Confederate Flag” was based on the square battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

In 1861, this design was proposed and rejected as the national flag of the Confederacy. Despite never having historically represented the Confederate States of America (CSA) as a country, it remains commonly referred to as “the Confederate Flag”, and it has become a widely recognized symbol of the American South.

Battle Cry Of FreedomFor the Southern men who died fighting under this flag, things may have been less complicated than many would like to think. In his book Battle Cry Of Freedom, historian James McPherson mentions how a Confederate soldier captured early in the war had put things in perspective: “His tattered homespun uniform and even more homespun speech made it clear that he was not a member of the planter class,” McPherson writes. “His captor asked why he, a non-slaveholder, was fighting to uphold slavery. He replied: ‘I’m fighting because you’re down here.’ For this soldier, as for many other southerners, the war was not about slavery,” McPherson notes.

leesmallIn this respect, General Robert E. Lee was probably the quintessential example of many Southern men who decided to lay down their life in this terrible conflict: “I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children”, he declared when he decided to turn down an offer to command the Union forces at the beginning of the Civil War. “Save in defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword”, said Lee.

However, Lee also expressed “I foresee that the country will have to pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation perhaps of our national sins.” An apt reminder that the past, as the present, is never as simple and clear-cut as we would like to make it. And symbols are easy prey when we wish to reinterpret things as we would like to see them.

Henri Thibodeau

If “The General Lee” Is Racist, What About This?

Posted on YouTube, Alex Jones Channel, July 4, 2015

This entry was posted in Other Food for Thought, Our Occulted History and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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