I have decided to share my Publisher’s Point spot with Buzz Estes, life long resident of Athens, and it was not an easy decision to make. The reason for my struggle is that as a youth I came to believe that the Con- federate Flag was the obvious and undisputed symbol for racism in America, and I have spent my whole life fighting racism. However, when someone bothers to set forth irrefutable facts that may fly in the face of what is commonly believed, they deserve to be heard, even if it ruffles some feathers. I often say, when it comes to controversy, “Let the story be the story,” and it will balance itself out. May this serve to bring people of all colors together around the truth that most often is not as simple as it seems, and may Truth itself set us free and heal the divide in our land.
One of the main factors in the extreme dislike, even hatred, of the Confederate Battle Flag is due to one of the most successful propaganda programs in history: that the War for Southern Independence (popularly known as the “Civil War”), was ALL AND ONLY about slavery.
No war was ever all only about one thing. The idea that the Trojan War was only about Helen of Troy is a great romantic myth. The War for Southern Independence was, like most wars, over economics. Very simply, the Southern states were furnishing 75 - 80% of the money for the Federal Government through tariffs and taxes with less than 40% of the population and getting nothing in return. The South had lost its political clout and could not prevent the U.S. government from imposing higher and higher taxes and/or tariffs.
It was very similar to the cause of the revolutionary war. The Federal Government refused to officially acknowledge the Confederacy, but had unofficially promised that the Federal troops would be removed from Ft. Sumter while secretly dispatching a convoy of men, supplies, and weapons to reinforce it. The “First Shot” fired in Charleston was not the first shot of the war. Federal Forces had fired at Ft. Pickens prior to that, but that was not reported by the newspapers like Ft. Sumter.
The Battle of Ft. Sumter began 12 April, 1861. If the freeing of the slaves was the main issue, why was the Emancipation Proclamation not issued earlier? The North was losing its will to fight as the deaths and casualties mounted, higher and faster than anyone thought possible. In the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) 16 July, 1861, the North’s casualties were 2,950 and the North lost. In the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) 30 August, 1862, the North’s casualties were 13,830, and again the North lost. In the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), 16 September, 1862, the North’s casualties were estimated at 22,000 and most historians called it a tie.
Is it a coincidence that the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued the week after that? Carefully read a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and it states that it is a WAR measure which was intended to weaken the South’s economy and possibly strengthen the Northern Army. If it were only a great humanitarian gesture, as many want to believe, why did it exclude the northern slave holding states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri? Why did it also exclude 14 parishes in Louisiana? By this time in the war, most of Kentucky and all of Louisiana were under Union control. Why was it not as important for those states to free their slaves?
The point is that the war was NOT to free the slaves, although thankfully that was one of the results of the war. It was done because it let the North claim the moral high ground, and thus take attention away from the plundering and pillaging that accompanied their army everywhere they went. After cities like Atlanta and Charleston were evacuated, officers would escort their wives through some of the vacated homes so they could pick out the furniture that they wanted shipped home. Gen. Butler evicted people from their home in New Orleans because he wanted to use it for his home and headquarters. When he finally left, he packed up much of their furniture and shipped it to his home. According to the 3rd Amendment of the Constitution, this kind of action was entirely illegal.
The hypocritical charade of these “Christian Soldiers fighting to free the slaves” is being continued today, and even expanded upon. It is the major reason for the HATE projected on the Confederate Battle Flag. The Federal Government reinforces this attitude with their placards on National Park Service Civil War Battlefield Visitor’s Centers that state “From Civil War to Civil Rights.”
Yes, there definitely have been racists who have illegally usurped our flag for their use, but that could not be prevented any more than average Americans who were angered at illegal aliens burning, spitting upon, and stomping Old Glory on national T.V. But did you notice that in the BIG 1928 K.K.K. demonstration in Washington they were carrying several hundred Stars and Stripes? No Confederate Battle flags were to be seen. No slave trading ship ever flew the Confederate Battle Flag, but many flew the Stars and Stripes. In 1991, a national racist organization passed a resolution at their National Convention to “get rid” of the Confederate Battle Flag because they decided it “offends” them.
Knowing that, it is much easier to understand how that horrible slaughter in June of the 9 people in Charleston by an obviously deranged man could create such an instant firestorm of protest against any Confederate symbol. Their network of professional agitators was connected, loaded, capped, and ready to fire. All they were waiting for was the command to “FIRE!” This group may have had a reason to protest several years or decades ago, but in my opinion, now all they are really doing is driving a wedge between blacks and whites in this country. Karl Marx would be very proud of them.