The Civil War (or its other names in different parts of the country- the War Between the States being one) was the bloodiest conflict in the history of our country. It is almost, at 620,000, comparable to all of the wars that we have been in at 686,000. It is 215,000 more than World War II. Our nation was ripped asunder by the conflict and it has not died down yet. The surrender at Appomattox was just the beginning of a festering sore in our psyche.
Reconstruction was hell for the South, as the federal government attempted to exact its due from the defeated South. Although none of us were alive then, the carpetbaggers had their effect on what is going on today. The current populace of the South is still angered by the domination of the other parts of the country in many areas.
However, the economics of our current time favors the South and the West. The rustbelt, the antagonists during the Civil War, is not faring well. Our country is once again divided. This time into the Red and the Blue States, with pockets of the other color in certain sections of each state. This kind of division shows itself in our federal congress, our supreme court and in our executive branch. Don’t kid yourself; the conflicts are not only among the upper echelons of our government, but in families and friends.
The Confederate Flag is just one symbol of the discontent. It is not just a symbol of the lost Confederacy; it is a symbol of many other splits in our country; the wealth gap, the racial divide, the immigration problem, and so many other things.
If you believe that the Confederate flag symbolizes only a historical event, look again. The Stars and Bars has its equivalent in some 12,000 monuments across the country, in all parts of the country. In many parts of our land, it is venerated as much as our American Flag. The point of it all is not to forget. The question is what we are not supposed to forget. Was it cotton, slavery, an economic system, an interpretation of the constitution featuring state’s rights, a call for small government, a rant against political correctness, or even personal rights?
No matter what it means in people’s minds, its time as a symbol is long gone. We should not view its taking down in South Carolina as a payment for the deaths of folks in a Charleston Church. It only troubles people. It wasn’t only the South or the North that lost those 620,000 soldiers; it was families that were destroyed, cities that were pulverized, and the uprooting of parts of our country.
As I sit and listen to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, and tears really come to my eyes, I am saddened that we can at once be Americans all, and then split into separate groups. We are one people, under God with liberty and justice for all. We are not a separate group of people holding up separate symbols for our way of life, we are a country founded by people from all parts of the 13 colonies. We freed ourselves from England. Let’s not keep ourselves apart because of a flag.