July 10th, 2015

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

That Flag

First, congratulations to the South Carolina state legislature for voting to remove the Confederate battle flag from display on the Statehouse grounds.   Any moral deed, whenever it occurs, deserves recognition and a pat on the back.

Now we've got that taken care of...on to the larger issue, the one that's been carried like a giant pus-filled abscess in the body politic for a century and a half....a mix of racism and treason that has frustrated repeated attempts to heal the wounds caused by the treason of a region addicted to buying, owning, and selling human beings even after a war they lost, even after a lenient post-war attempt to repatriate the traitors and restore them to a right relation, as citizens, with their country.

A potent, comforting mythology developed--was allowed to develop unchecked--and poured into the ears of the young, a toxic mythology that framed the South as the gallant, brave, victim,  slavery as a misunderstood benign institution that might slowly lift "savages" from Africa into civilization,  and the real issues of the Civil War a matter of cool, rational "states' rights" rather than the hot desire to own and use other humans, and spread that practice of slavery abroad.   A mythology, reinforced in books, in movies, which the young were told justified slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, virtual slavery after slavery was illegal,  false accuations, physical attacks on African-Americans, including lynchings.  A mythology that spread easily from fear into hatred, and from fear and hatred of African Americans to fear and hatred of all persons of color.  A myth.  A lie.  A string of lies, one little dram of poison at a time, until the children grew up believing it all, mouthing the same words in the same tones, including the excuses they used to cover their lies.
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