Jun 24, 2011

It's all about state's rights!

I've written numerous times about my feelings concerning state funds being used to honor the Confederacy, but apparently the issue is being brought up again in my new home state of Texas. The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has designed a license plate that displays the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia, or as some will recall, the Confederate Naval Jack. Their purpose is to honor those in the Lone Star State who fought against the Union in the Civil War, aka War Between the States. Why they didn't choose the Confederate National Flag is a mystery to me as it would make more logical sense, but admittedly the former is more recognizable. Not surprisingly controversy has ensued.

When I emailed the Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans and asked if Texan troops actually used the Stars and Bars in battle I didn't get a response. I imagine the answer is yes, but I can find nothing to support that so far. It may be of little matter.

America is interesting in the fact that it's the only nation I can think of that honors those who have committed treason, fought against the then current government, lost, and are suddenly revered as heroes. This is why I don't really see this license plate as an issue of race, although I understand why some would. What other country gives so much praise to a people who rebelled and threw their respective nation into their bloodiest conflict? I somewhat get the lost cause mentality as we don't want to think of our forefathers as dying for something as simple as state's rights to own and distribute slaves and the US always loves an underdog, but we must face the facts. The Confederacy seceded because of human bondage at their own admission, from their secession letters to Congress, statements made by most of their governors, and even their Vice President confirmed this during and after the war. While the Dixiecrats made it popular to romanticize the south and give the image that the antebellum lifestyle was exactly like Gone With the Wind, history does paint a different picture than pop culture. I would like to think that the average Confederate soldier may have fought for noble reasons of their own, but that can be said of any army.

Given that if someone wants to wave the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia I don't really care. It's their right to fly any flag at their own expense, but to use tax payer funds to display a symbol that was used in battle to fight against the people defending the Constitution and preserving the Union, well I still can't wrap my head around it. I consider myself a Civil War buff as I agree with Shelby Foote that if someone really wants to understand the character of this country there's no better period in history to study. Still in all my amateur efforts I don't exactly get the lost cause mentality, or maybe I understand it better than I realize.

"I hope the day will never come that my grandsons will be ashamed to own that I was a Confederate Soldier." - Private A. Y. Handy, 32nd Texas Cavalry, C.S.A

Texas Officials Consider Confederate Flag License Plate


wigsf3 said...

In Canada, there exists a political party who's reason to exist is to gain independence for Quebec. Unlike it's predecessor, the FLQ terrorist group, the Bloc Quebecois has used peaceful political methods to make their voices heard. The party runs candidates in federal elections and has received federal funding. So I guess you can say that Canada has given money to a group that wants to leave Canada. I think that's kinda the same as what you got goin' on down there.

Kelli said...

"think of that honors those who have committed treason, fought against the then current government, lost, and are suddenly revered as heroes."

Didn't our Founding Fathers commit treason? Does it only make it more acceptable because they won their war? America was founded on the premise of "breaking away" from a larger governing body. So, it makes perfect sense that we would revere folks who weren't scared to take a giant leap into the unknown. Could be that I'm Southern, so I'm biased. I'd also like to point out that the whole issue of The War of Northern Aggression started over cotton tariffs. Greedy Northerners. :-P