• Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Some 46,000 people marched to South Carolina’s Statehouse on Martin
Luther King Day to demand the Confederate flag, which they described as
a symbol of slavery and racism, be taken down.

The state of South Carolina is the target of a boycott by the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People because of
its display of the banner.

The flag is now the subject of angry op-ed columns and TV punditry
vitriol. But even the defenders of the state’s right to fly the flag
seem to be missing the point.

This is not merely a First Amendment issue. I not only support South
Carolina’s decision to fly the flag as a symbol of its heritage and
tradition, I personally think we ought to be waving the Dixie flag in
celebration of a great dream of freedom and in memory of how that dream
was vanquished by brute force.

The trouble is that most people today really think the Civil War was
fought over slavery. It was not. In fact, Gen. Robert E. Lee was
adamantly opposed to slavery, while the butcher of the South, Gen.
William Tecumseh Sherman, had no problems with it.

Few people understand today that there was slavery in the North as
well as the South.

Patriots like Lee fought for states’ rights. That was a noble fight
then, and it remains a noble fight today. In fact, today is Lee’s
birthday. He was a great man. His memory is done a tremendous disservice
by the furor over the flag he carried with honor.

Look what has happened to our country since the Civil War. Look at
the power that has accumulated in Washington. Look at the way tyranny
and centralized authority is destroying liberty and the notion of
self-government.

That’s what is being lost in the debate today.

Is raising this issue racist? Does this mean I support slavery or
excuse it or condone it? Not at all. But this is what the practitioners
of political correctness would have us believe today.

The South was evil. The North was righteous. I’m sorry, folks. It
just ain’t that simple.

Some say flying the Confederate flag is divisive. I say misdirected
boycotts against those who freely choose to fly it are much more
divisive. It’s time Americans learned some real lessons from the Civil
War. This campaign against the South and all of its symbols is nothing
short of cultural bigotry and historical revisionism.

The South fought for sovereignty, not slavery.

Sovereignty was the goal of our revolutionary forefathers. Have we
forgotten? Has it become such a foreign concept? Do we not understand
that without sovereignty and independence none of us are truly free?

The moral justification for secession was found in our Declaration of
Independence. It says governments are created to protect our unalienable
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “Whenever a
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the
people to alter or abolish it.”

That’s what the South did. It wasn’t about slavery. It was about
Washington imposing its will on Southern states.

The 10th Amendment of our Constitution guarantees us this right as
well.

The paths to freedom and peace are found in small states, limited
government, dispersion of power. If we don’t still believe that, how do
we as a nation even attempt to justify our intervention in the recent
civil war in Yugoslavia? If Kosovo didn’t have a right to secede, why
did the United States join with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
in using armed force to “protect” that state from attack? That was the
excuse, wasn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, “Farah, all that may be
true, but the fact remains that many blacks today are offended by the
sight of the Confederate flag.”

I’m sure that’s true. I am equally offended by much of what I see
happening in America today — including the total misrepresentation of
history so prevalent in our schools and mass media. Some of the same
people offended by the Confederate flag are offended by the
Constitution, too. After all, it was the U.S. Constitution that
recognized slavery. Should we ditch that next? Or have we already done
so?

As a matter of fact, it was the U.S. flag that flew over slave states
longer than the Confederate flag. Maybe we should lower Old Glory, too.

And, while we’re at it, what we think of as the Confederate flag
today was never even the symbol that flew over the Confederate states.
It was, instead, a battle flag used by the Confederate army, which
fought not for slavery but to preserve the idea of a constitutional
republic.

That is an idea worth fighting for. It was then. It is today. In
fact, if we don’t wake up soon to the realization that centralized
government, as we’re increasingly practicing it in the United States, is
evil, then we will all get a first-hand lesson in slavery.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.