The Confederate battle flag is a flag of racism, and nothing's ever going to make me believe me otherwise, but I reluctantly find myself accepting the notion that the flag's biggest fans (or at least some of them) have deluded themselves into thinking that it isn't racist -- they're not lying to us about its meaning, they're lying to themselves. Consider this guy:
Oklahoma black man leads presidential protest by waving Confederate Flag
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The President’s Oklahoma visit sparked controversy all over the state.
Supporters of the confederate flag have their own message to send to President Obama.
In Durant, Okla. Wednesday morning, trucks lined up awaiting his arrival, and now supporters are in Bricktown.
Supporters want to let the President know the Confederate flag, they say, stands for heritage, not hate. The organizer of the event is someone you might not expect to see standing behind this cause....
“We don’t believe it’s a symbol of racism,” Andrew Duncomb, an organizer in Oklahoma City who calls himself “the Black Rebel” says....
Hey, it's fine if he loves Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, and lists Garth Brooks twice among his favorites on his personal page. But what is he telling himself about the Confederate flag?
I look at the photos on the "Black Rebel" page and see this:
Do people like this (not just the Black Rebel but the white flag supporters who insist they're not racist) think of defense of the Confederate flag as some sort of enhanced American patriotism? I sometimes hear the talk about "defending our heritage" and think these folks have really persuaded themselves that critics of the Confederate flag want to take something away from America. We know that a lot of right-wingers unabashedly enjoy the pomp and pageantry of American patriotism more than liberals -- liberals might have a lot of positive feelings about America, but we're often less enthusiastic about bunting and eagle images and the like. Right-wingers resent the left for not being sufficiently rah-rah about superficial aspects of patriotism, and I think they tell themselves they need to wave the Confederate flag in our faces because it's another American flag that should make us tear up.
And maybe these people just see the flag as the emblem of us-against-them heartland opposition to liberalism:
Pro-Confederate Demonstrators Meet With Guns in Hand
A member of the 'open carry' group who says they are all friends who met through Facebook.
Given recent events around the country involving the flag, they say they decided to assemble to show their support for how they interpret the meaning of the Confederate flag.
They met downtown and with weapons and flags in hand, marched around the streets in the heart of San Antonio.
The group, composed of members from around Texas, says the flag represents their heritage and honors those who fought for the confederacy.
"This is where we're from, I was born in south Texas, I'm from Gonzales, Texas, I was born there and I'm not going to take this flag down for anybody, anybody, nobody," said Lamar Russell.....
These folks seem to be saying that the Confederate flag stands for everything they don't like that they associate with Democrats/liberals/elitists/the gummint. They seem to insisting that it's the generalized flag of freedom (as they define it). Really, it has nothing to do with slavery! And maybe they genuinely believe that they believe that. Maybe they've talked themselves into thinking it has nothing to do with the South or the 19th century or race or anything except whatever was on Limbaugh's show this afternoon.
So maybe that means the "Don't Tread on Me" flag is on the way out, and the Confederate battle flag this is the new Tea Party flag. Maybe its primary meaning will eventually be "Screw you, hippie."
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog