Dean versus the confederates

Pardon if this has already been covered. A perfunctory search came up blank.

There’s been a lot of hubbub raised over Dean’s remarks concerning southern voters with pickups and confederate flags. He made a huge mistake alienating potential (although not terribly likely) swing votes, but it got me thinking. Exactly what kind of American has a Confederate Flag on their vehicle? What are they trying to represent with that banner?

I often hear the answer is Southern pride. My question is what exactly about that period in their history do they have to be proud of? Correct me if I’m wrong but the South was the bad guy in that war right? They were fighting to keep slaves… I know, I know economics blah blah blah… slavery was still on the agenda. When people break out the swastika they’re reviled as hate monger, dirt bags? Why don’t the stars and bars get similar treatment?

How can you call yourself an American and pay homage to a historical enemy to the union, a rather despicable one at that?

Because he was my grandfather and he didn’t own any slaves. He fought because that’s what seventeen year olds who could get away with it did – and he wanted to be with his brothers. And because he watched as other soldiers lived on the undigested kernels of corn they could find in horseshit.

I can do it because he was placed in a prison camp much worse than Andersonville. But most people never heard of it because the South lost the war. Where that camp once stood is the largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere.

I can pay homage to him because he admitted that it would never have done for the South to have won the war.

When he was sixty-one, his wife gave birth to their last child, a boy. He was the youngest of seventeen in a blended family. That child never forgot what it was like to be hungry or go without. And it frightened him to hear his father and uncles talk about the war so he would hide from them – especially crazy Uncle John who went wild and rode with Jesse James and cried when he was an old man and said he had seen too much blood.

But what that child learned from his father shaped forever how he felt about injustice and cruelty and smugness. When he opened his own business – a grocery, feed and seed store – on the streets on the town in the 1930’s, he did his best to see that all people that came to his store were treated decently.

There were a lot of people in that town that did not go hungry because of him. And he helped them to buy their own property too. And much of this even his wife didn’t know until other people told her when they were both old.

When the Civil Rights tensions of the 1950’s and 1960’s became an issue in the South, this man, my father, had already been working for the rights of Blacks for twenty years. He took a stand against the very church that his father and grandmother had helped to found. As an elder, he spoke out against its racism. For a small town business man, that was a big risk.

It wasn’t until 1976 that he took me to show me where my grandfather was buried. There was no marker. They had all been too poor when he died. But because I asked
him to, he did have a stone laid for him. It is was the custom in earlier times to indicate which men were Confederate soldiers. On my grandfather’s stone it just says his name and, “Soldier of the Civil War.”

Because of my father and grandfather, I became a teacher in 1969 and asked to be assigned only to integrated schools. I spent all twenty years in the inner city and I’ve never stopped missing my students or the chance to make a difference.

I no longer find the Confederate flag beautiful as I did when I was in elementary school. Some people are able to disassociate it from the element of slavery, but I am not. If they see it only as a symbol of the incredibly good things that exist and have existed in the South for centuries, then that is their right.

That we were an historical enemy to the union (sic) is the least of my concerns.

Now you have heard just a tiny part of the reason that I can call myself an American and pay homage to the South.

I’m glad you asked.

What have you done lately to promote those still disadvantaged by having had their cultural heritages torn away by slavery?

Why do some Northerners pretend that the North had no slaves or racial prejudices? Are you like that?

We should also ask why it is morally reprehensible to work a 10-year-old black kid to death in a Southern sugar cane field but somehow acceptable to work a 10-year-old white kid to death in a Northern coal mine.

We should ask why it is that modern-day would-be slavers and those who look fondly upon Jim Crow think that they can pull the wool over our eyes?

Who are these “would-be slavers” you’re talking about?

The stock answer you’ll hear in the South is “Heritage, not Hate”. They honor their relatives who fought and died under that banner (see above). Dean said that he won’t apologize for reaching out to “poor white people” and although his personification was clumsy and unfortunate, I think it would be a mistake for his political enemies to come in and try and sell the notion to Southern voters that Confederate flags are strictly a sign of racist evil.

Well there’s the British, they’re cool, right? Yet we fought them a couple times … the many Native American nations? Don’t get me started. And why do we acknowledge Cinco De Mayo or Oktoberfest? Why do we buy Hondas and watch Spirited Away?

Geez o pete.

Why do people insist on picking at this scab?

To answer the OP’s question, most people who have a Confederate flag on their trucks (and that is a vanishingly small subset of Southerners, by the way) do not intend to send a racist message. They intend to express pride in their Southern heritage, and they intend to do it, by God, no matter what anyone else may think of it. (Not endorsing the view, just reporting.)

Of course they should not be surprised that the flag is perceived by others as a racist symbol. But I guarantee you that hectoring them about it will not achieve any good end. (Southerners are a contrary race.)

Note to Democrats: you will not do your party any favors by bashing the Confederacy or the Confederate flag. Let sleeping dogs lie.

A great deal of southern pride is founded upon the treatment of the south by the north towards the end of the war and after it. From Shermans burning of Atlanta (whether accident or not) to his 60 mile wide swathe of destruction to the sea at Charlotte, from the way pow’s were treated, to the way (after the war) southern land was confiscated left and right and given to friends and political appointees and tens of thousands were made homeless refugees.

Back then, in war, to the victor went the spoils; and the north not only had its boot on the neck of the south but grinded the heel in deep. Its much the same effect as the treatment of germany after WW1 had on German identity.

It’s time to get back to the South being a direction you drive when not going North.
When the “South” seceded they became traitors against the United States of America. Nothing to be proud of.

Soldiers on both sides of the conflict made sacrifices. " Southern" soldiers should not have turned against their own country.

My money is on the Confederates. Dean has a lot of money that he could rapidly turn into weapons. Robert E. Lee would be handicapped by his antiquated weapons. Can I assume the the Confederacy gets to go to the sporting goods store?

I love these.

Well, the OP doesn’t specify which Dean.

James Dean vs. the Confederates? My money’s on Dean. They’re a bunch of fat-cat plantation owners; he’s an actor, photographer, race driver, and artist. They may be rebels, but he’s the Ultimate Rebel - though the lack of a cause might work against him.

Jimmy Dean vs. the Confederates? He could distract them with the savory aroma of smoked sausage. What do they have, iced tea and grits? My money’s on Dean again.

Well said. Alot of people who are eager to see wars and situations from all sides of a conflict, including the current ones going on in Iraq ect have surprisingly little regard for the feelings of people not too far removed from those soldiers who bled the ground red all over this country. We get brusque admonitions to ‘get over it’ or accusations of sympathizing with traitors…even called racists. That was the worst war our country has ever experienced… it was a bleeding wound on the psyche of our nation and believe it or not that kind of thing still aches today for some. It was NOT as simple or black and white as some so glibly suggest, such things rarely are. The flag has come to represent ALOT of things to alot of different people, but it seems nothing is acceptable to these people but utter contempt. Well, tough… maybe one day everybody will be goaded and shamed into thinking only one way about that flag and the people who fought beneath it, with no uncomfortable or messy shades of gray to be found but until then YOU get over it.

I’m no admirer of Trent Lott, but does anyone else see a strange double standard here? Lott makes some vauge reference that, if twisted enough, is said to prove he is racist. Within days, he’s hounded out of his leaderhip position. Dean says something that doesn’t really have to be twisted all that much to make it sound racist (to both blacks and whites), and he’s still considered a prime candidate for president.

Maybe it says as much about the willingness of the Republicans to cave in to unjustified perssure as anything else. I could think of many reasons to can Lott, but his remarks about Thurmund would not be one of them.

How was Trent Lott’s reference “vague”? If I recall correctly, he said that if Strom Thurman had won the presidency back in the late 1940’s this country would have been better off than it is today. Thurman made it a point to run as a “Dixecrat” in opposition to the Democratic party’s support for the civil rights movement. Seems to me that Trent was saying that if Thurman was elected, segregation would still be acceptable and the country would be better for it.

How is this similar to Dean’s statement? Dean isn’t appealing to anybody’s racist “The South will Rise Again” fantasies. He is trying to appeal to a group of people who also feel strongly about the concept of states’ rights (and who see the Civil War as a battle over states’ rights and not at all about slavery) and sure some of these people may also be racist mofos. But if Dean invoking the rebel flag can get them to stop blaming the “welfare queens”, “Willie Hortons”, “quotas”, and “immigration” (all Republican buzzwords used to scare white people down South) for their economic woes, then more power to him. As I “minority” myself, I don’t see anything racist about that.

Trent’s comment could easily be interpreted as simply a attempt to say a kind word to an aging politician. Thurmond held mnay political views that he nothing to do with race. Could Lott possibly have been referring to those views? The fact is, we don’t know.

How do you know he’s not appealing to “The South Will Rise Again” fantasies? I don’t think he is, but then I didn’t think Lott was either. Give on guy the benefit of the doubt, but not the other. Like I said, it’s a double standard.

I guess Dean is looking right past the primaries to his triumphant march through Georgia and then to the sea. Please, Howard, spare Atlanta.

As mentioned by others, this is not a significant voting block in most of the South. As I’ve mentioned in another thread, the big states where it causes controversy are GA, SC, and Miss. Dean won’t win those states under any circumstances, IMO.

Perhaps Dean was willing to risk alienating the Democratic base slightly to make a point about litmus testing, PC, or creating a big tent. What I don’t get is why he would pick one of the most infuriating issues to the Democratic base, especially in the South.

Having a Confederate flag may or may not mean you are “paying homage” to an enemy of the United States. In the South if you see the Confederate flag at all it will often be with a US flag. It’s a Jungian thing. Seriously, hell if I know.

I don’t see much in the way of insurrection plotting any more. Ever since John Wilkes and Dr. Mudd were treated so harshly, I don’t even think about plotting to overthrow the US government. After Cold Harbor my leg hasn’t been the same. “The South will rise again”? Jeopardy music

Jimmy Dean would probably feed the Confederates.

So your grandfather was wonderful, decent guy. Well, the Stars and Bars doesn’t stand for “decent guys in defense of slavery” it stands for slavery, and of late, racism. It’s like you’re saying that the Nazi swastika should be OK for Germans to venerate because some German soldiers were just dewy-eyed young guys who turned out to be swell after the war. All that unpleasantness about killing all the Jews and such was not what Nazi Germany was REALLY about.

So let’s all wave our Nazi flags in honor of the fine fellows who served in the Wehrmacht, and our Stars and Bars in honor of the fine fellows of the Confederacy.

C’mon, defending the Stars and Bars is always such an obvious pile of crap.

Defending the Stars and Bars? Hardly! You need to practice your reading skills. What I said about my view of the flag was this:

(That’s half a century of not defending the Stars and Bars.)

You have also made the assumption that all Confederate soldiers were defending the institution of slavery.

Read a history book sometime.

Here’s the thing, it’s a flag. Sure, I live in Florida. All I ever see is the Puerto Rican flag. Thank God that looks nothing like… Hey.

I’m not defending any slaveowners when I say that the General Lee was one nice ride. It had the stars and bars on the roof. The Union Jack or the United States flag can look suspiciously like the Confederate flags after you’ve had several – or if you served in the early Confederate or Union armies.

Friendly fire, isn’t. Now imagine the early Confederacy against the early Union or Puerto Rico.

United States flags That is a good place to look at flags. Are United States flags offensive before Emancipation Proclimation and the 13th Amendment? Or, should we wait until the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

If we’re going do debate flags, dadgumit, let’s get some flags out on the table. I like our flag. A hint of rebellion (bars) but no stars in the bars to, eh, make it offensive.