Referendum on state flag decided properly

The Clarion-Ledger • January 20, 2008

In response to Harvey Warren’s letter ("’Majority rule’ on flag has no ethical base," Jan. 13), I was appalled at the lack of true historical knowledge displayed.

In the first place, Mr. Warren seemed to believe that the War Between the States was fought over slavery, and that Southern men were ready to die in order to remain slaveholders. The argument that the war was fought over states rights is an old one, but true nonetheless.

If persons wish to be truly informed, they must not simply rely on the historical half-truths they were taught in school. A well-read person would know that the abolitionist rhetoric coming from the New England states during the 1860s was merely a way of turning the black population against the people of the South during a time of war.

One may argue that they should never have been enslaved, and on that point I would agree. Slavery was a horrendous practice and I am not advocating it in any way. But one cannot be aware of historical facts and still maintain that documents such as Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed only slaves in the Confederate states, were written out of a demand for justice and equality for the entire black population.

Why not demand that states siding with the Union give up their slaves as well? Because slavery was not a real concern for the Lincoln administration, and never had been. The real concern of the Northern regime was in preserving the ever-growing centralized government, and that meant keeping the Southern states from seceding, no matter how many lives were lost.

Article X of our Constitution explains the limited role of the federal government and the rights reserved for individual states. In regard to any unfairness involved in the state flag vote, may I ask what was unscrupulous or callous? A referendum was called for and that is what the people got.

If Mr. Warren is not happy with the outcome of the statewide vote on the flag, I would suggest that perhaps a state with such a "sordid past" is not the place for him.

Bonnie McCoy