the flag came off the capitol dome, but let’s look at the positive
side. We really got their attention. Our battle flag became the
focus of international discussion as well as an issue in the presidential
comedy, er, campaign.
politicians succumbed, as they usually do, because pressure groups
are nearly always more powerful than plain folk. What the politicians
thought they had to do signifies a lot about them but absolutely
nothing about our flag. The conservative party in the most conservative
State in the Union had a chance to say NO to political correctness
in a way did would have garnered international attention and applause.
Instead they got lost in details.
chose to make it simply a “heritage” issue. In retrospect it was
a mistake for us flag supporters to let the politicians deal with
the flag as a “heritage” issue. Heritage can be acknowledged in
one place as well as another. As usual, the leftists grasped the
real issue while the conservatives dithered. The flag does not represent
only or even primarily the Confederate soldier. It represents Dixie
and its four centuries of unique and admirable culture.
why it really gets so much attention (and will continue to do so)
is this: it is the most potent symbol in the world today of brave
resistance to authoritarian government. That is why it was unfurled
by the Eastern Europeans a few years ago when they were liberated.
That is why it is hated by every New World Order flunky in the universe.
That is why it is now banned from the public space of the world,
though it appeared with honor as an American symbol until very recently.
representatives have succumbed to the campaign to brand our flag
as no more than a symbol of hate. Very well. The bloody and beautiful
St. Andrews cross won’t fly over politicians any more. That’s for
the best. It is not a government banner — it is the people’s banner
and I predict we are going to be seeing it in the future more often
and in more places than ever before because they will never be able
to suppress the universal symbol of the spirit of liberty.
Wilson is professor of history at the University of South Carolina
and editor of The
Papers of John C. Calhoun. A version of this essay appeared
in The Southern Partisan.