In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Dean mentioned the Confederate flag. "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," he told the Register. "We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross section of Democrats." That brought a new series of condemnations yesterday.
"It is simply unconscionable for Howard Dean to embrace the most racially divisive symbol in America," Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) said. The senator added that he would "rather be the candidate of the NAACP than the NRA." "I absolutely disagree" with Dean, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) said. He said he wants to be the candidate of those who display American flags, not Confederate flags. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) called the Confederate flag "one of the most divisive, hurtful symbols in American history." He said the party cannot afford to nominate someone who is so incautious in his statements.
Yesterday, Dean said he wants to create a biracial coalition in the South. "For my fellow Democratic opponents to sink to this level is really tragic," he said. "The only way we're going to beat George Bush is if southern white working families and African American working families come together under the Democratic tent." Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright said the former governor had made a similar statement about southern white voters and the Confederate flag in a speech to a Democratic National Committee meeting in February and had won applause from the audience -- with no criticism from his rivals. "Some of his rivals are seeing it differently, because in February he was a blip on the radar screen," she said.
Shit like this is why I hate politics. First off, I salute Dean for ignoring the standard load of PC crapola, and happily referring to the Stars and Bars without sneering. I'd like to continue that thought with a big ol' heapin' helpin' of 'Fuck You' on the senators who spoke out against it, and who continue to keep racism alive by never allowing anyone to move on and get over things.
Time for a history lesson, my friends. Contrary to the bullshit you've been spoonfed, the Civil War was not about racism. Yes, Lincoln freed the slaves, and yes, the South was not happy about it, but that was merely one more symptom of what the South finally said they'd had enough of, which was the fact that they were overlooked in the government. As population and industry in the Northern states grew, the seat of government was kept in the midst of it...and as a result, the southern states, naturally more spread out as farmland, were hard pressed to get their representatives to it (this was before easy long-distance travel, remember). Rather than move the capital to a more centralized spot, the South was ignored. Laws were then passed with more opinion and vote from northern representatives, and the South felt it wasn't properly represented. Lincoln's proclamation only broke the camel's back. Why is this different from most of the history that you've heard? History is written by the winners, remember? Besides, the whole slavery thing is easy to teach, has no 'other side' to the argument, and appeases groups that like to keep racism alive because it serves their causes...and we all know the government likes to appease potential voters.
Now, what is the point of all this? The fact that the Stars and Bars was and is NOT a symbol of slavery. In fact, since the flag did not come about until the South had seceded, it wasn't even AROUND during slavery. The flag was merely the national flag of the CSA. Anyone who claims the Stars and Bars is a symbol of slavery is therefore wrong. However, there are plenty of small-minded people in the world who want to say that since the South kept slaves, anything connected to the South is a symbol thereof. Whatever...just the sort of comment that one usually receives from those who want to continue to punish someone for something they had no part in.
Look, obviously I do not agree with the practice of slavery. But I AM proud of my heritage, just as anyone else has the right to be proud of their own. "I'm American by birth, but Southern by the grace of God", as the saying goes. It does so happen that my bloodline was not involved in slavery, but even if it were, *I* had nothing to do with it, and no one I know is or has been a slave. For all that we tell people who pine on at length to 'get over' things, people don't seem to want to get over this. Evolve, kids. Move on. We all have the ability to be equal nowadays, and thus, if you are behind and oppressed it's your own damn fault. Don't go blaming The Man, or a flag, or anything for your own shortcomings. Racism continues not only because some people do it, but because others won't stop talking about it.
Personally, I'm happy and proud to still have my Stars and Bars prominently displayed, and will continue to do so...because that's part of who I am. Anyone that doesn't like it is welcome to their opinion, and is welcome to leave my house if they so desire. Honestly, you should respect the South...those few states are the only ones that had the balls to be true patriots: believing in and fighting for a FAIR government for all, and, when that government opted to ignore the people it was supposed to work for, ready to die for that ideal.