Posted by Curt on 15 July, 2015 at 3:00 am. 2 comments already!


David French:

To no one’s real surprise, the national Confederate-flag debate turns out not to be about flags alone. It’s not even truly about history. And it’s certainly not about dealing with the issues of crime and poverty that still disproportionately impact the black community. It has now moved entirely into the realm of raw cultural and political power. It’s an identity-politics hammer that is “heads, I win; tails, you lose” for all too many conservatives. With the Left in the lead, you’re either a racist for refusing to bulldoze history or — if you go along — you’re still a racist, but at least the Left has you under control.

In a piece on June 19, I articulated a simple principle: Official flag displays that are intended — like the Democrats’ displays in the 1960s — to demonstrate an official commitment to white supremacy are vile and should come down. Flag displays at Civil War monuments, memorials, and battlefields are part of history and should stay. In fact, there is no principled distinction between a flag and the monument itself. If one goes, why not the other?

Why not, indeed. A fever is now sweeping the land. In New Orleans, the mayor has proposed removing four monuments, including one of Robert E. Lee, as “public nuisances.” In her public statement, the mayor decried the “false valor” of Confederate soldiers. Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution demanding that Mississippi’s state flag be removed from display on U.S. Capitol Grounds. Republicans in the House acquiesced in Democrat Jared Huffman’s proposal to ban even privately placed Confederate flags at Confederate grave sites in national cemeteries. And in the most bizarre move of all, the Memphis city council just voted to disturb Nathan Bedford Forrest’s grave and move his remains from under his statue (with the statue-removal vote to come later.)

This is only the beginning. Speaker of the House John Boehner is proposing a bipartisan commission with a “broad mandate” to “review all issues related to Confederate symbols” (emphasis added). Creating this commission guarantees that the “debate” (such as it is) will carry on indefinitely. I eagerly await their conclusion that social justice demands removing all Confederate remains and Confederate markers from national cemeteries, no doubt to be followed by a mandate that Confederate soldiers in battlefield reenactments fight in Nike shorts and Target T-shirts, waving “Coexist” banners as they charge Union positions.

But let’s fast-forward and imagine an increasingly plausible future where Confederate memorials are piles of rubble, Confederate bones are interred in landfills, and Confederate flags linger on mainly as fading stickers on a few mud-covered pickup trucks — will America be a better nation? Will a single inner-city school improve? Will we have taken a single meaningful step toward finding a way to responsibly end mass incarceration? Will community and police relations improve, at all? Will the leftist urban elite stop oppressing the liberal urban poor?

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