November 09, 2003


Rebel Yell
So, fellow blogger John Scalzi has really kicked up a storm on his side of the universe from his series of articles regarding the legacy of the Confederate States of America and the meaning of their battle flag. His basic points?

A. The Confederacy was a fundamentally evil political entity, because the only difference between it's constitution and the Constitution of the United States was that it explicitly asserted the rights of one human being to treat another human being like property.

B. There's no pride to legitimately be found in the symbols of the CSA because it was evil and, at the end of the day, they lost.

C. The South and The Confederacy are not the same thing. There are far more things to be proud of for Americans living in those states than the political insanity that precipitated the Civil War, so Southerners should look into their heritage to find less divisive symbols.

Personally, I agree with just about everything that he said. On the flip side, I also agree with Howard Dean's assertion that the people who find pride in the Stars & Bars cannot simply be dismissed from the body politic. Certainly, there are people who would very much like to put people such as yours truly back in chains so I can bale some of their cotton, but there are also a lot of folks who cling to the identity the Confederate flag gives them while trying to distance themselves from the amorality of the nation it represents.

Which brings me to a larger point, which I will call, for lack of a better term, cultural psychosis. I believe that a community that experiences a traumatic event will have the same reaction as an individual who experiences a traumatic event. Namely, some version of post traumatic stress disorder. You can't tell a rape victim to simply get over it and get on with her life. In the same way, when taken within the context of Hiroshima, no one should be surprised that city-wide destruction is one of the most common recurring themes in Anime. Or, the various & sundry psychological shackles still on the minds of many African-Americans, a full 150 years after the end of slavery.

When you consider that the South is the only segment of the American population that's lost a war on it's own soil, and that it's now an economically struggling portion of the very same nation that burned its cities to the ground..... well, I think you can see where I'm going with this. I'm sure, to some of them, it's like getting a divorce, only to have your ex-husband smack you around and drag you back to the chapel to get remarried at gunpoint.

The point is, there is a trauma there. And, quite honestly, the psychological & historical battles of the Civil War have been fought by the South, albeit in secret, ever since. I think it's long past time to actually have a conversation to get all this junk out into the open and deal with it as a country.
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