Tag Archives: Stars and Bars

Violence erupts in a city known for knowledge

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia and a community associated with one of our greatest Americans, our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Donald J. Trump has condemned the violence that has erupted there, as he should have done. “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” the president said via Twitter. Exactly, Mr. President.

White nationalists, some of them wearing Ku Klux Klan garb, are protesting the removal of a Confederate statue. Their presence has prompted counter protests; thus, the clash that is threatening to blow the community apart.

I keep noticing something about the white nationalists marching through Charlottesville. It’s the presence of the Stars and Bars, the flag generally associated with the Confederate States of America, which seceded from the Union in 1861 and commenced the Civil War.

We’ve been debating for the past 150 or so years about the reason for the Civil War. Was it about slavery? About race? Was it about states’ rights? Or southern “heritage”?

Defenders of the Confederacy keep suggesting the Civil War wasn’t about race, or about slavery. They point to the “heritage” issue as the linchpin issue, and that the states didn’t want the federal government dictating to them how to run their internal affairs.

OK. If that’s the case, why do these white nationalists keep marching under the Stars and Bars? What does the presence of the Confederate symbol mean in that context?

For that matter, I should note, too, that one sees that symbol displayed with great “pride” at KKK rallies. Someone will have to explain to me the juxtaposition of the Stars and Bars and the KKK/white nationalists.

I’m all ears. You may now have the floor.

Honor end of Civil War by not honoring it

Think of the term “Civil War.” Is there a greater oxymoron in the English language than that?

War, by definition, is hardly “civil,” if you go by one definition explained in most dictionaries.

And yet, as R.G. Ratliffe notes in his latest Texas Monthly blog, Texas keeps resurrecting memories of the Civil War. He notes as well that the state is going commemorate a sesquicentennial on April 9, which is the 150th year since Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to U.S. Army Gen. U.S. Grant at Appomattox, Va.


So … let’s get over it, shall we?

The most notorious remembrance of the Civil War is the case that’s being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court to display the Stars and Bars on Texas license plates. The Sons of Confederate Veterans says the flag merely honors Southern heritage. Many of us think otherwise. It’s a symbol of bloody, gruesome conflict. It’s also a symbol, in many eyes, of slave ownership — which offends the millions of African-Americans, not to mention many more millions of whites, who live in Texas.

The upcoming sesquicentennial provides a good time for Texans to put this war behind us.

Texas was on the losing side of this conflict, which killed more than 600,000 Americans. Texas seceded from the Union and sought to join a new nation founded on the notion that “states’ rights” trumped federal law. Texans went to war against the United States of America, thus committing a serious act of treason against the nation.

Do we really want to keep reminding ourselves of this?

I hope not.

The Civil War is over. Done. History.

Let’s allow our children and grandchildren to study it in school, discuss it among themselves and with their teachers and parents. Let us cease reliving it.