On the Confederate Flag
Before I begin, I want to make clear that I fully support the individual's right to freedom of expression and speech. If you wish to fly a confederate flag, then by all means, please exercise your right to do so. And don't be discouraged by the fact that some of the most notoriously greedy businessmen on the planet agree that we should no longer be using the Southern cross to make a buck. No, you should absolutely run Ol' Dixie up your flagpole. Because it immediately--and quite conveniently--labels you as (at best) insensitive and ignorant, and (at worst) a racist and potentially traitorous to boot.
Individual freedoms aside, this idea that we are somehow honoring our heritage and fallen soldiers by flying the confederate flag over our state capitols is, well, utter and complete bullshit. That flag represents more than merely a history of the southern states over which it flies. It represents more than the racial divide of the time. It represents a desire to form a new nation (under that flag) separate from our own. Apart from not representing a major part of their constituencies (and being entirely hurtful to many), the states that still fly the confederate flag, in my opinion, are flirting with treason. It suggests that the values of that time--including secession and slavery--are values that the state itself holds to this day.
If we are really to honor America's history, the only flag that need fly is the Stars and Stripes. Stitched into that one flag are the values and principles that we, as a nation, believe in. Principles like liberty and equality and unity and honoring the courage of those that fought (and continue to fight) against those that would take those freedoms and ideals away from us. That lone flag already flies in honor of all who died for this country at home and abroad. It represents a single unified nation, whereas the confederate flag is, quite literally, the symbol of a proposed nation built upon indignity and inequality.
We would never permit the flags of other countries to fly over our government buildings. Likewise, we would certainly not stand for flags representing ideas like nazism to fly over them either. Would it be acceptable to fly a swastica anywhere in Germany, much less over a city that was home to a large population of Jews? I imagine most would say no. The states that still fly the condederate flag are doing precisely that. And for too long, by our silent consent, we have permitted them to do so.
I say no more. Take them down. Let us finally begin to allow the still-festering wounds of 150 years ago to heal, and bring this nation, and its people together once again.