Following the shooting of 9 people at a Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina, some wonder why so many have called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds. They claim that the flag is flown to commemorate the state’s history and those who died in service of the Confederacy. It’s a matter of honoring their ancestors, they say.
Since the nation’s largest ethnic group is German, should we then permit states to fly the Nazi flag on their capitol grounds as a way to honor those who died for the fatherland?
After all, there’s little difference. Both flags were used by enemies of the United States to help them identify their comrades on the battlefield. Both represented racist ideologies – the misguided belief in Caucasian superiority over all other races. Both flags are offensive to those who were victims of those ideologies. And both flags would be better erased from our collective memories.
Relegating these symbols to a museum as President Obama suggests is a fate better than they deserve. As the comedian John Oliver suggests, they “…should really only be seen on T-shirts, belt buckles and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world.“