Calling Confederate flag offensive is hypocritical

July 7, 2010

I was reading the Community section June 27 and was dismayed to see Jerry Hein’s call condemning a resident for flying a Confederate flag. This is a prime example of how we like to selectively interpret our nation’s history.

First and foremost, calling out the Confederate flag as "offensive" is almost hypocritical. The flag of the United States (in various forms) flew over slavery for almost 90 years. The flag of the Confederacy represented a slave-holding body for about five years. Our flag is just as bloodstained and guilty as any other.

Second, the citizens and soldiers of the Confederacy were just as American as any American citizen today. Like us, they fought to uphold what they considered right, and they fought with determination, skill and bravery. As a certain Ulysses S. Grant said, "The war is over. The rebels are our countrymen again."

Some of what they fought for may have been wrong, but their attitudes toward patriotism and the conviction with which they fought is still an incredible example of American spirit. These men fought and lived the concept of Americans.

Anyone who wants to fly a flag to remember the men (on both sides) who fought the bloodiest war on American soil — a conflict that defined our nation — should be able to do so without fear of criticism.

I have no qualms with those of color, nor arguments as to whether or not slavery was wrong. That is undisputed. I would merely suggest that we remember history in full.

These men were Americans, and we massacred each other for five years. None of us is any more righteous than another.

Christopher Thulien,
Appleton