Letter: Confederate flag’s view depends on the beholder

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Editor: A letter published March 8 "Confederate flag is not an American swastika" responded to a comment by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., that the Confederate flag is an America Swastika. The letter said "this is an insult and a slap in the face for all Americans."

Well, it isn’t to those of minority races or alternative lifestyles who see the Confederate Flag proudly emblazed across the pickup trucks, ball caps and jackets of those who hurl hateful insults and slurs at them.

The Confederate Flag once stood for the idea that an individual state should be able to govern itself in most matters without the interference of an overly-powerful federal government. The flag stood as a symbol for what many (the South) considered to be the continued fight against the tyranny we left behind in England.

That symbolism and that fight are now lost to antiquity and scholarly debate. What we have is mostly a group of people proud of the area in which they were born.

I know many Southerners who are proud of the cultural image they project of the "Southern hospitality" or the image of taking things slow and enjoying the weather of a beautiful day.

Unfortunately, we also have a bunch of bigoted and racist hate-mongers who don’t make a distinction between their "Southern pride" and their "white pride" or their "straight pride." For many that I have personally met, there is no distinction to be made.

I’m not saying that anyone who wears or displays the Confederate Flag is a racist. It’s not that simple. Muslims, Christians and other religious groups have an embarrassing "extreme" representation that they don’t like being grouped with. Separate yourself from the problem makers with a firm and bold division and educate those to whom it matters why the Confederate Flag isn’t an American Swastika.

Stephen Tillman

St. Augustine

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