The Confederate Flag

Since everyone else seems to be expressing an opinion about the Confederate flag, here’s mine. Take it down and put it in a museum.

I’m a Southerner. I was born and raised in Tennessee. On my father’s side of the family, my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were slave owners. On my mother’s side, my great-great-grandfather served as a captain in the Confederate Army. The Confederacy is a part of my heritage, but it isn’t something I’m especially proud of.

For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of regional pride, but it has taken on a darker meaning for most of the world. Good manners suggest that it would be both polite and wise to avoid flaunting such a emotionally-charged symbol when it is likely to be offensive.

The question is not whether people have the right to peacefully display the Confederate flag. Of course they do; that’s protected by the First Amendment. The question is should they do so; is it wise? My answer, at least for places such as government buildings, is, “No. It’s unwise and unkind.”

Take it down. Put it in a museum.

UPDATE—I’ve held this same opinion concerning the Confederate flag since I was a kid. It wasn’t so much of a big deal among folks I knew until the Civil War centennial. I saw enough of it then, and I had seen enough of it by 1965. I suppose it boils down to this: I’m an American and not a Confederate.