It is official!

The confederate flag is coming down and virtually all public display of that flag has been disavowed by the powers that be. They’ve even pulled the old reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series because a confederate flag was painted on the roof of the car – referred to as “General Lee” in the show.  (It was a silly show anyway but that is beside the point.)

All because a seriously messed up young man who committed an an unspeakable, racist act of murder once posted a picture of himself displaying a confederate flag.

When this uproar over the flag started, did you not wonder why that was being made into the issue? Did it not seem a little strange to you? Does anyone seriously believe that it was the flag that motivated that young man to kill? Or that he would not have committed that horrible crime if he had never been allowed to see a confederate flag?

To be clear, I’m no fan of the confederate flag. To me it symbolizes a very dark period in our country’s history – on many levels. I would never display it and I’m happy to see the state of South Carolina take it down from their state house flag pole.

Transferring Blame Insures We’ll Never Solve the Real Problem.

Regardless of my personal feelings, however, to turn a flag into the scape-goat for the racist murder of nine wonderful people is offensive to me. It is, at best, a red herring. At its worst, it trivializes what happened and makes a mockery of mental illness.

And by the way, I believe that the current attempt to erase the flag from our consciousness (or at least from our vision) is also wrong. It is a part of our collective history, and it should serve as a visible reminder of the efforts and sacrifices required to eliminate slavery and racism and to reunite a once fatally divided country. We’ve seen great progress but those efforts are not yet over. Sweeping it under the carpet is not likely to help.

To me, this whole episode appears to be a classic example of people using a horrible tragedy to promote their private political agendas. In the process, they try to make us all feel better by suggesting that they’ve eliminated the cause of the tragedy. Now that we’ve completely exiled the confederate flag from our sight, we can all sigh a collective sigh of relief because we did something about those who commit heinous acts in the name of racism. Right?  Right?  Ah, if only it were true!

There have always been and probably always will be a few sick people who commit heinous crimes. Their sickness seeks a cause, but in the end, any cause will do. Getting rid of flags, guns, or any other symbol or tool will not stop them. Further, getting rid of symbols (real or perceived) of racism will not stop racism. Racism arises out of ignorance and must be taught by other ignorant people in order to survive.

I believe that the best and only real deterrent to such things is a strong society based on solid and love-based moral values. More on that in my next post.

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