Tag Archives: Confederate flag

Wondering about POTUS’s stated anger at NFL players

Donald J. Trump stood before an Alabama political rally crowd and called professional players “sons of b******” if they don’t stand while they play the National Anthem at the start of a game.

He got big cheers. He lapped it up.

But when white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen marched in Charlottesville, Va., provoking a conflict earlier this year with counter protestors, he said “both sides” were responsible for the violence and that “very fine people” were among those who marched with the KKK, Nazis and white supremacists.

He talked in Alabama this weekend about “disrespecting” Old Glory and “The Star Spangled Banner.” He didn’t talk at all about flying the Confederate flag — which is an enduring symbol of a 19th-century movement to destroy the United States of America.

Trump talks about standing up for our democratic principles. But he hasn’t yet condemned the Russians for hacking into our electoral process — a virtual “act of war” against those very principles he now defends against professional athletes who are protesting police policies as they relate to African-American citizens.

It needs to be said that the bulk of the protests over the Anthem are coming from African-American athletes.

The president of the United States then calls them “sons of b******” because they are engaging in a peaceful protest of a government policy.

Is this argument being waged along racial lines? Donald Trump today said “no!” He said he’s never raised the issue of race. It’s about respecting the symbols of our “great country.”

Someone will have to explain to me in language I can understand just how all of this is not related to the racial makeup of those who are protesting.

Flag becomes easy target … with good reason

confederate flag

A flag is coming down today. TV networks are going to cover the event live, such as they did when we launched men to the moon or when we held state funerals for a murdered president.

This is a big deal for an important reason.

The flag — which symbolizes the kind of bigotry that helped launch the Civil War — is an easily recognizable symbol. Its intent today, in many quarters, is to inspire fear and to terrorize Americans.

It has to come down and it has to be placed in a museum, where adults can tell their children about what this flag means to so many millions of Americans.

The flag in question has flown on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, S.C., the state where just a few weeks ago nine African-Americans were slaughtered in a Charleston church. A young white man has been charged with murder; and that same young white man has been revealed to harbor hatred for African-Americans.

And yes, he’s displayed pictures of himself waving that Confederate battle flag.

You see the flag and any number of things come into your mind.

I see the flag as a symbol of oppression. That it would fly on public property — which is owned jointly by African-Americans and white Americans who see the flag as many of us do — is an insult in the extreme.

Moreover, the flag is different from many other Confederate symbols, such as statues.

There’s a statue at the west end of Ellwood Park here in Amarillo of a Confederate soldier. To be honest, I drove by it for years before I even knew what it represented. To this very day I cannot tell you who it represents, and I doubt most Amarillo residents even know the name of the individual depicted by that statue.

Should that artifact come down? I don’t believe its removal is as necessary as the removal of the flag from the statehouse grounds in South Carolina.

We know what the Confederate battle flag represents to many Americans.

And because it is so easily recognizable as what it is, then it needs to come down.



Tumult unlikely to let up

gay marriage

It’s been a tumultuous past few days, right?

The Confederate flag has come under intense fire; then the Supreme Court steps in and — in order — affirms the Affordable Care Act and then legalizes gay marriage.

Let the arguments ensue.

As for the gay marriage issue, I want to make only this point.

Those who oppose the court’s ruling as a threat to traditional marriage ought to take a deep breath and wait.

They need to wait to see — and this will take time — if the rate of traditional weddings drops off; or if the rate of traditional divorce increases.

I suspect we’ll see an increase in gay marriages across the land, as same-sex couples now are able to marry openly — and legally. Would that increase signify a disproportionate representation of the number of Americans who happen to be gay? That remains to be seen as well. I continue to believe the percentage of gay people is as it’s always been; we’ve seen a spike in the percentage of those who have “come out.”

I only can speak for myself and — on this matter — for my wife. Neither of us feels threatened by the court decision. We’ve been at this marriage game for going on 44 years. It’s worked pretty well for us.

In that regard, I’m not yet willing to concede that the court majority’s ruling is going to trigger an avalanche of divorces among heterosexual couples. Nor am I willing to believe that a serious decline in weddings involving men and women marrying each other is on the horizon.

Patience, please. Let’s see what transpires.

This wasn’t a parody

The Onion takes great pleasure in offering parodies of news events.

The link attached here talks about a black man who supports flying the Confederate flag — and who has just tripled his media appearance rates to tell  his story.


It’s a hilarious send-up of a current news story.

However, it brings to mind a woman I met many years ago while covering a governor’s race in Louisiana. If only she had been pulling my leg at the time. She wasn’t.

The year was 1991. I was working in Beaumont, in the southeastern corner of Texas, about 25 miles from the Louisiana border. The Beaumont Enterprise was covering “regional news” back then, and still sold newspapers all the way to Lake Charles, La. I thought I could get an interesting commentary out of the governor’s race in the state next door, so I ventured across the Sabine River and went to Vinton, La., where voters were casting ballots.

The two candidates were the Democrat, former Gov. Edwin Edwards and the Republican, David Duke — yes, that David Duke, the Ku Klux Klansman.

I went to a polling place and talked to voters walking away. I approached a middle-aged African-American woman and asked her about the race — expecting fully to get the kind of response I’d heard from other African-Americans about a contest between a colorful former governor and the intensely controversial opponent, Duke.

What I got damn near bowled me over.

The woman said she voted for Duke!

The KKK stuff didn’t bother her, she said. His white supremacist views weren’t the deal-breaker, she explained.

Why did you vote for him? I asked. It was his stand on welfare, she said.

I truly thought she was kidding. I pressed her some more about her political leanings and she insisted that she was sincere. David Duke was her man because he wanted to get people off welfare, that she was tired of paying for other people’s food and housing. If they really wanted to work, she said, they could find a job.

Wow! Who knew?

Looking back on 24 years on that amazing encounter, I can read The Onion parody and wonder: Is it really a joke?

Hmmm. Yeah. It is.


Six Flags to become Five Flags? Please, no

Here’s a thought that will could drive us all just a bit crazy.

The momentum against the Confederate flag in this country could force one of the nation’s most well-known theme parks to change its name from “Six Flags” to “Five Flags.”

To which I say, “Please, please, no! Don’t do that!”

We have the Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington. The name of the park is meant to pay some tribute to the flags that have flown over the Lone Star State. One of them, of course, was the Confederate flag back when Texas seceded from the Union and fought on the losing side in the American Civil War.

The flags aren’t necessarily a part of the park, although if memory serves they fly atop flag poles at the main entrance of the park.

Oh, and think about this one. The acclaimed musical “Texas,” the one at Palo Duro Canyon, also features riders carrying flags that have flown over the state. Yep, one of ’em is the rebel flag. Do we want to get rid of that flag as well at the end of the musical? A part of me understands why it’s offensive.

But let’s leave the musical alone.

Let’s get to the hard task of tackling racism

I follow a blog that has produced a most interesting essay.

It comes from Adele Stan, writing in the American Prospect.

The essay says, in summary, that removal of the Confederate flag and other symbols of a dark time in our nation’s history, is worthwhile and necessary. But it’s the easy part. The hard part is tackling the issue it represents: insidious racism.

Here it is:


The essay concludes with this: “So, yes, remove the Confederate flag — that standard of dehumanization, treason, and murder — from our sight. But proof of our intention demands great change in the way in which we lead, the way in which we live, the way in which we think; we must be willing to truly open the riches of progressive society and culture to all. To do that, we must — each and every one of us — examine our own prejudice, and be determined to transcend it. Then the real work of a just society can begin.”

It’s good that we’re having this discussion in the wake of the Charleston tragedy. I’m glad to see public opinion overwhelming the minority that still seeks to find legitimacy in symbols of hate and bigotry.

But as it is noted in the essay attached here, we need to look within to rid ourselves of “our own prejudice.”


Now comes Louis Farrakhan to weigh in on flag

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show the other day that liberals are next going to seek to take down the Stars and Stripes.

The conservative talk show voice was making some point about the furor over the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

Now comes a voice from the equally remote far left of the spectrum. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said we, indeed, need to take down the American flag.


Those who march under and behind Old Glory have been subjugating African-Americans, Farrakhan said.

That is utter crap!

A former colleague of mine said I owe Daddy Dittohead an apology for tweeting that he should “shut the bleep up” over his remarks about the Stars and Stripes.

I’ll pass on the apology. As for Farrakhan, he, too, needs to shut his pie hole.


Symbols matter, but keep eye on big picture

confederate flag

The Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred, racism and human bondage.

So are the statues of Confederate “heroes” that populate public property throughout the Deep South.

It’s good that governments are taking aim at these symbols. Indeed, many pundits — and I include myself in that gang — have gone overboard to cry out for the removal of flags and statues.

It’s important that we rid ourselves of these visible, tangible and identifiable symbols. They need not stare us in the face and remind us of the path we’ve taken as a nation.

The bigger issue, though, lies in what they represent. The racism. The belief that some of us are better than others merely because of the pigment of our skin.

We’ve had a lot of intense discussion about these issues in the past several days. A young white man walked into a black church, sat down next to black Christians and joined them in a Bible study. The young man then pulled out a gun and shot nine of his acquaintances to death. Dylann Roof has been accused of the crime and we’re learning more about the young man each day, about his hatred of African-Americans and the deep-seated racism he harbored deep within what passes for his soul.

Is he alone? Hardly.

How do we rid society of this kind of evil? That remains the 64 bazillion-dollar question today as we continue to grieve over the deaths of those people in Charleston, S.C.

Yes, the symbols must be taken down. The Confederate battle flag belongs in museums, as President Obama noted. Indeed, removing these symbols doesn’t mean we ignore the things for which they stand. It means we must redouble our vigilance against those who would do the kind of harm against fellow human beings that was done this past week in that Charleston church.

The campaign against hate must continue.


It’s far more than just a flag

Gov. Nikki Haley, a South Carolina Republican, has joined the call she should have led immediately after a suspect was caught and charged with murdering nine African-American church members in Charleston.

She’s urged the South Carolina legislature to take down the Confederate flag that flies at full staff on the statehouse grounds in Columbia.


She waited five days after the tragedy. The suspect, a young man named Dylann Roof, is an avowed racist. He wrote in his diaries he intended to start a “race war” by killing African-Americans.

Haley’s call came amid a bipartisan show of solidarity today. Republican presidential candidates, GOP lawmakers, Democratic lawmakers, the head of the Republican National Committee … they all were there to join Gov. Haley’s call.

Look, it’s not just about a flag. It’s about what that flag has come to represent.

To many millions of Americans it represents hatred and evil, racism and murder. It represents the hideous views of hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, that wave the flag with pride at their hate-filled rallies.

And what about that “Southern heritage” crap we hear from those who still resist the notion that the flag symbolizes tyranny against Americans? Their pleadings are sounding more hollow every passing hour.

I’m glad Gov. Haley has joined the chorus of indignation that’s sweeping the nation.

South Carolina law says the legislature has the sole power to remove the flag. Thankfully, lawmakers are coming back into session to look at several issues.

Let me think. Do you suppose the flag will be one of them?

Take down the flag.


Glad to have this flag debate

Nothing good has come from the Charleston, S.C., massacre.

However, I am glad that we’re having this discussion of the Confederate flag and its place in U.S. history and in contemporary times.

Those who see the flag now are more willing to call attention to the hate that it symbolizes in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.

Dylann Roof apparently thought enough of the flag to wave it — apparently with some pride — prior the event that took the lives of those nine church members in Charleston. Roof has been accused of nine counts of murder.

But back to the flag.

None of reasons I’ve read that seek to justify reasons for flying the Confederate flag works, in my view. It all goes back to what the flag represents today and how it now stands as a symbol of hate, oppression, enslavement, and indeed treason.

Those calls we’ve heard since, oh, about January 2009 about secession? They sound a good bit more offensive today, given the tragedy in Charleston and the debate that’s ensued about whether the Confederate flag should fly at all — let alone on public property, as it does in front of the South Carolina statehouse.