Officials in the rural Virginia city where Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried voted late Thursday to prohibit the flying of the Confederate flag on city-owned poles.
After a lively 2 1/2-hour public hearing, the Lexington City Council voted 4-1 to allow only U.S., Virginia and city flags to be flown. Personal displays of the Confederate flag are not affected. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose members showed up in force after leading a rally that turned a downtown park into a sea of Confederate flags, vowed to challenge the ordinance in court.
…”I am a firm believer in the freedom to express our individual rights, which include flying the flag that we decide to fly,” said Philip Way, a Civil War re-enactor dressed in a Confederate wool uniform despite the summer temperatures. “That’s freedom to me.”
Now, I’m no historian, but I have a dim inkling that the concept of “the freedom to express our individual rights” is more typically associated with the nation that the Confederacy was, uh, revolting against to begin with. Even more astonishingly, I suggest it to be the case that life in a theocratic, patriarchal, ancestor-worshipping agrarian society built on a permanent class of forced laborers would not be nearly so enamored of honoring one’s right to display whatever colored fabric of their choosing. Should I care to don my herringbone deerstalker cap and my pipe and go about some sleuthing, I suspect I would find that Mr. Way is as white as a catfish’s belly, and has never considered life from outside that privileged perspective.
I say it’s high time for secession to move beyond the boundaries of right-wing crankdom and become a mainstream, bipartisan issue. It should be encouraged. Not only that, but we should give additional fuel to their martyr complex by reenacting a Trail of Tears, if you will. Gather up all these Johnny Reb-come-latelies and put them on the road. I’m going to get things rolling by suggesting that we march them all to Texas and then sell the state back to Mexico, where they can pick marijuana buds in the fields for the drug lords. Sorry, my couple of Texan friends, but the wheels of history take no heed of lowly individuals, and it’s for the good of the nation, after all. I’ll make sure to secure you safe passage back to civilization anyway.