Letter: To Confederate-flag critics: Get a life

by Timothy Lawrence-Rodriguez | Ann Arbor

Tuesday November 11, 2008

I’m responding to Will Hathaway’s letter about the Confederate flag (Oct. 23). He took to task Brad Nasarzewski, who defended the right to display the Confederate flag.

Hathaway claimed that the Confederate states fought the Civil War solely to continue slavery. That’s not correct. The South wanted to be a separate nation, like the American colonies wanted independence from England. Hathaway needs to realize that there were slaves in the North, too. In fact, President Lincoln’s Proclamation of 1863 outlawed slavery only in the Confederate states, not in the whole U.S.

Robert E. Lee, one of the greatest military commanders ever, was from Virginia and openly condemned slavery and secession, and only agreed to lead the Army of Northern Virginia because he said, "I could not raise my sword to the State of Virginia." For Hathaway to imply that all southerners were for slavery is wrong. Most of the southerners who fought in the Civil War were poor dirt farmers who had no slaves. They fought because they were expected to, just like soldiers in the North.

If someone wants to display the Confederate flag as a way to remember part of their history, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those nitpickers who bellyache about the Confederate flag should just get a life. The Constitution allows people to display whatever flag they want. It evens protects peoples right to burn the American flag.

Finally, if state capitols in the South want to display the Confederate flag, they also have that right.

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