Confederate flag not racist symbol to everyone

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It grieves me that John McCarthy sees the Confederate flag in such a negative light (letter, Jan. 28).

Just last year, in Austin, Texas, at the 100th Anniversary of the Terry’s Texas Ranger Monument, homage was paid to those Northerners and Southerners, blacks, whites and Hispanics, who fought together in that cavalry regiment.

New York, Ohio, Vermont and Illinois were honored as having sent representatives serving with the Rangers.

It may surprise Mr. McCarthy to learn that many Northerners saw the issues at stake regarding taxes, constitutional law and limits on presidential freedoms that were part of the conflict. Those issues were never resolved, although men were willing to take a stand for them under the Confederate flag. Historic revisionism has used the war to alienate groups of people, when the reality of the 1860s was that those who served were often driven by principles that were important to them.

There was no treason involved. The Confederacy wanted the government to abide by the rules laid out by the Constitution. When the government refused to abide by Supreme Court rulings, the Constitution and legislation passed by Congress, there were few options left.

The South, because it believed in the rule of law, rather than the rule of a "higher law," was pushed into leaving the Union. Historically, Massachusetts took steps of secession several times before the war occurred, so to call the South treasonous because it took action rather than just make threats is being ill-informed.

Sadly, politicians and rabble-rousers have muddled the issues of the 1860s to the point that the meaning of the flag has been spun into something totally different from the historic reality.

JEFFREY MURRAH

La Porte, Texas

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