Brian W. Schoeneman
As a Southerner, I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding that most Americans, Northerners especially, have about the Civil War and the symbols of both the North and the South. The editorial entitled Stars and Barred in the January 18 issue (p. 4) of The Hatchet is a perfect example. In the article, the South is belittled, ridiculed and the memory of all those who fought and died for the Confederacy is besmirched.
I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Members of my family fought and died for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and I take great pride in that fact. They did not die for slavery. They did not die to prove that the white man is better than the black man.
They died trying to protect their homes and their families. They believed in the South, and they believed in popular sovereignty – the right of a people to determine their own destiny. Oddly enough, this was what America was built on in 1776. Lincoln’s own government of the people, by the people and for the people embodies this concept.
The Confederate battle flag is not a symbol of white supremacy. It is not a symbol of slavery, or hatred or racism. If you are to claim that the Confederate flag symbolizes slavery, what does the American flag symbolize? It flew over a country that condoned slavery far longer than any Confederate one did.
South Carolina has voted on more than one occasion to allow the flag to be flown, below both the American and state flags. The voters in that state have continued to support it being flown. This is a prime example of representative government. Until the voters of South Carolina wish that flag to come down, no one has the right to tell them to bring it down.
There must be some other way for the opponents of racism to help solve this problem. Attacking the only symbol a defeated people have left is not going to make one iota of difference. You can’t change people’s hearts by removing a symbol.
-The writer is a senior majoring in political science.