It simply isn't working out for all those desperate white southerners who insist the confederate battle flag shouldn't be interpreted as a symbol of slavery, segregation, and racism.
If you browse the internet you can't escape them. They're everywhere on You Tube and news outlets pleading their case. They are alternately weepy with sincerity and dismissively arrogant. In both instances there is no doubt in their minds that those who disagree with them about the flag are either misinformed when it comes to the actual history of the south, or they're just plain stupid.
Invariably they'll talk about "southern heritage, southern tradition, and southern pride." While they're speaking it never seems to dawn on them that for millions of southerners--you know--the ones who are black--that the heritage and tradition they speak of means something completely different and the whole pride part is really nothing more than a brutal ethnic insult.
A couple have shown up on the internet trying to deflect the entire racial argument by pointing to photos of Ku Klux Klan rallies held in the first half of the 20th century. In those moments frozen in time the only flags in sight are the American stars and stripes.
Yeah, well that probably isn't the way to go either. The Klan widely used the American flag until the federal government began to enforce the desegregation of southern public schools and passively support, the civil rights movement of the 1960s. That's when secessionist colors began to be commonplace props during Klan gatherings and ended up on top of the capitol buildings of South Carolina and, for a briefer period, Alabama. The confederate battle flag had never flown over either place before then, even during the civil war. At that point all the "southern history," gas went out of the balloon. There was no doubt, at least among the non delusional, that the banner stood squarely as a symbol of the racist political cause which was, to quote George Wallace, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
None of that has prevented at least one supposed mainstream conservative from mounting an attack on not just, "liberals" wanting to remove the flag, but those who he sees as the quisling retailers who are dumping confederate themed products off their shelves.
Bill Kristol has been around for decades. He served under Ron Reagan's Secretary of Education, William Bennett. In addition he was chief of staff for Vice President, Dan Quayle during the elder Bush administration.
He was such a mover and shaker he is widely credited as being the main force behind the demise of the Clinton administration's proto universal health care plan. His argument at the time? "There is no health care crisis." It was a line used verbatim by Bob Dole in response to Bill Clinton's state of the union address which advanced the proposal.
Since then, besides founding the conservative political magazine, The Weekly Standard, thanks to Rupert Murdoch's money, Mr. Kristol has bounced around all manner of cable news outlet shows and panel discussions.
The other day on MSNBC's Morning Joe he vociferously claimed places like Wal-Mart and Amazon were caving into political correctness by discontinuing the sales of items emblazoned with the confederate colors.
Earlier, in reference to the whole flag controversy, he had tweeted, "It's our own mini-French Revolution, expunging history in a frenzy of self righteousness. Luckily, so far: 1st time tragedy, 2nd time farce."
Then, just in case there was any confusion, he tweeted, "The left's 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition, or acknowledgement of Americans who fought for the confederacy."
Cenk Uygur, host of the internet news show, "The Young Turks," went spinning off his nut when he addressed the content of Kristol's tweets. In what can best be described as an apoplectic fit, Uygur, a former republican, ranted that it's actually the defenders of the confederate flag who are attempting to expunge history. That they routinely do so when they deny, or ignore the verifiable truth, which is hundreds of thousands of confederate soldiers fought for and ultimately gave their lives in the defense of slavery, then, even beyond defeat, Jim Crow laws, and segregation.
He does have a point.
Luckily, for Bill Kristol, while he may have Cenk Uygur up his ass, at least someone out there not only agrees with him, but, on the surface anyway, sounds pretty much like he does. It's been announced there will be a two hour pro confederate flag demonstration held on July 18th from 3pm to 5pm at the South Carolina state house. One of the organizers released a statement which said the protest was being held because, "To us they are erasing white history and culture right out of the history books. That's why they want to take that flag down."
The author of the press release is identified only as the "Grand Titan" of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Their web site describes the chapter as the largest Klan in the United States. According to one report they expect between 100 and 200 members to attend.
Ah, won't that day be a perfect symbol of southern heritage, tradition, and pride?
Indeed, the ghost of Nathan Bedford Forrest will be proud.
sic vita est