The Confederate Battle Flag and the Black Liberation Flag
These flags represent the just causes for which Americans fought in the Civil War. The Civil War was a great and tragic conflict because there was truth on both sides. All of today’s Americans should understand, recognize, and value these truths.
The just and honorable cause for which Confederates fought was the right of secession. This right is self-evident, inalienable, and synonymous with freedom and democracy. One cannot claim to support freedom and democracy and then condemn this right. Government without the consent of the governed is tyranny. The battle flag is a symbol of this right of secession, a right that needs expression in our age as well, in Bosnia , Kosovo, East Timor, Taiwan, and Tibet among many others. The corollary to this Confederate truth is that the unjust cause for which the Federals fought was union. The flaw in Northern heritage was valuing a union, which could only be sustained by force of arms.
The just cause for which the Federals fought was the right of a people to be free of oppression, the end of slavery. The black liberation flag symbolizes freedom from oppression for African-Americans. The corollary to this Federal truth is that the unjust cause for which Confederates fought was the defense of slavery. The flaw in Southern heritage was that the ante-bellum way of life was built on the backs of slaves.
My ancestors were Federals, which may partially explain why I believe slavery was the transcendent issue in the Civil War. I believe the South lost its right to freedom and democracy through the oppression of another people, but that oppression in slavery and segregation has ended. I think most all Americans, North and South, Black and White, believe now that slavery and segregation were wrong. I don’t, however, think that most Americans value the right of secession or the sacrifices Confederates made in defense of this right. The Battle Flag more than any other American symbol stands for this right and as a memorial to those who fought for it. America needs this symbol. The world needs this symbol.
We must take the battle flag back from those who use it to symbolize slavery and segregation, and Southern men and women must show their recognition that slavery was the flaw in Southern heritage. We can accomplish these tasks by flying the battle flag with the black liberation flag or, at least, with its colors. The black liberation flag is a horizontal tricolor with red, black, and green stripes. Red is for the blood shed, black is for the color of the skin, and green is for land and/or hope for the future. The battle flag flown with these colors would make it a symbol all Americans could value.
I’ve been a Democrat since 1984 and have been politically active periodically since then from working against Contra Aid to working to stop the war on terror. I’m a mere Irish-American, a retired bank examiner, and a former Marine.