Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flag Burning Emotivism

I debated whether or not to post this, but eventually decided that I'd rather catch a bit of hate mail from the perpetually offended crowd than bite my tongue.

A recent flap in Redding, California over flag burning caused me to ponder the entire significance of flags. Are they sacred? Do they hold some special powers?

A high school principal, who had been debating the disbanding of his school's newspaper, decided to go ahead and do just that after the student editorial staff placed a picture of a burning American flag on page one. Perhaps that was the straw that broke the camel's back. He immediately caught tremendous flak over his stifling of free speech (see the story here). Flags are inanimate objects, and they are nothing special, right?

Since flags, and their destruction, display, etc, are considered free expression that should not be infringed upon, why is there so much uproar over the confederate flag? Many folks in the south still enjoy flying that flag, as it represents (to them) their southern heritage and culture. To a few others, it is "offensive," and even "oppressive." I thought flags were powerless pieces of cloth; is that not the case?

Is there a double standard here? Perish the thought! I'm not from the south, but in my readings and such, I've not come across any credible evidence that the confederate flag was designed and incorporated in order to support or represent slavery. While slavery may have been one of the issues of the Civil War, did every soldier that fought for the Confederacy promote or support slavery?  Hard to say, but to most folks in the South, the battle flag represents the South, period.

While it might be trendy, and even monetarily beneficial (see: Al Sharpton), to claim "victim status," by screaming racism at the drop of a hat, it's certainly getting boring as hell. This whole mess over the confederate flag is over-inflated, and needs to be put to rest. It is indeed only a piece of cloth that represents a certain region of our country, and it's culture. It does not stand for slavery, no matter how much those that blame skin color for their woes would like it to.

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