Battle Flag Acquisition Strategies


Early this morning, I was doing some research on the endurance of corporate culture, studying how sometimes the spirit of a smaller, acquired firm can permeate the larger, acquiring organization. It’s not unusual for a big behemoth to acquire a scrappy smaller company solely for the purpose of infusing the moribund giant with fresh blood, and when the companies’ interests align, it can create an unstoppable marketplace force…for a while.

With that dynamic still on my mind, I moseyed over to Booman’s place and read a post that hit upon something that has been bothering me about the focus on the rebel flag in the wake of the domestic terrorist massacre in Charleston:

But the focus on the Confederate Flag can have an unfortunate side effect. What, after all, does that flag mean when it doesn’t simply mean white supremacy?

It’s meaning in those cases in nearly identical to the meaning of the modern conservative movement. It’s about disunion, and hostility to the federal government, and state’s rights. It’s anti-East Coast Establishment and anti-immigrant. It’s about an idealized and false past and preserving outworn and intolerant ideas. It’s about a perverse version of a highly provincial and particularized version of (predominantly) Protestant Christianity that has evolved to serve the interests of power elites in the South. It’s about an aggrieved sense of false persecution where white men are playing on the hardest difficulty setting rather than the easiest, and white Christians are as threatened as black Muslims and gays and Jews.

“Those blacks are raping our women and they have to go.”

That’s what the Confederate Flag is all about, but it’s also the basic message of Fox News and the whole Republican Party since the moment that Richard Nixon promised us law and order.

But it’s not black people who have to go.

It’s this whole Last Cause bullshit mentality that fuels our nation’s politics and lines the pockets of Ted Cruz just as surely as it has been lining the pockets of Walmart executives.

Today, maybe the governor down there had an epiphany. Maybe this massacre was the last straw. But, tomorrow, we’ll all be right back where we began with Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army.

If we solve a symbolic problem and leave the rest untouched, then what will really change?

You can’t bury the Confederate Flag without, at the same time, burying the Conservative Movement.

Let’s get on with it.

He’s right. For many white people, the rebel flag represented moldy old myths about the antebellum South. But think about how nicely that mythology dovetailed with the lies about the pre-Civil Rights era that paleocons like Pat Buchanan tell themselves.

Like a moribund corporation, the GOP acquired Confederate culture with the Southern strategy, harnessing the racism in the South and its echo nationwide to build the present day Republican Party. That’s why Ronald Reagan launched his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. That’s why an always-wrong, New York City-born legacy hire who is relentlessly eager to send other people’s kids off to die in glorious causes is tweeting nonsense that his ancestors would find…puzzling:

So, the rebel flag should come down in South Carolina and every other state capitol in the former Confederacy, and with surprising (to me) swiftness, it looks like it will. That will be more than a symbolic victory; it will be the partial righting of a very old wrong.

But there’s a danger in “otherizing” the South in this context. It’s not wrong to condemn its blinkered myth-making and prideful backwardness, but there’s a hazard in moral preening within and outside of Dixie, a risk of declaring a tidy victory when the dinosaurs in the state capitols of the former Confederacy finally sink into the tarpit they’ve thrashed in for 150 years.

The risk is that we’ll lose focus on the modern day “Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army,” as Booman put it. At its core, the Southern strategy was an attempt to roll back progress by hitching the anti-New Dealers’ star to the creaky old Confederate wagon. Its organizers weren’t all or even mostly slack-jawed yokels waving rebel flags. They included a fiery libertarian business man from Phoenix, a glib B-movie pitchman who hailed from Northern Illinois and a twitchy, paranoid Quaker from California.

To achieve true victory, we have to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Southern strategy, not just the Confederacy. So let’s make expunging the rebel flag from the public square the opening salvo in a larger battle to take our country back. Yes, that’s right, TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK. With no lies and decaying myths about what that means. The flag that represents it isn’t spotless. Its founding was rooted in slavery, genocide and the oppression of women. But unlike its dying counterpart, this flag is worth saving.

107 replies
  1. 1
    David Koch says:

    I think Haley is only doing this to get on the ticket as Veep.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    I was hoping people would start talking like that. Well said, Betty & Booman.

  3. 3
    David Koch says:

    Hillary gave a really good speech on the matter today in Ferguson

    Clinton delivered her remarks during a roundtable discussion at Christ the King Church, a black church located in Florissant, Missouri, just a few miles from where the shooting of an unarmed black teenager last summer sparked protests and launched an ongoing national conversation about race and inequalities in policing. In her opening speech, she did not touch on the unrest in Ferguson but called the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina last week an “act of racist terrorism.”

    “I know it’s tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe in today’s America that bigotry is behind us, that institutional racism no longer exists,” she said. “But despite our best efforts and highest hopes, America’s struggle with racism is far from finished.”

    Clinton also called for more concrete measures that would work to shrink inequalities across the U.S. and address civil rights issues, including ensuring that all Americans have access to high-quality preschool. She again talked about the need for “common sense gun reform” and automatic voter registration so that everyone with a stake is able to have their say in democracy.

    While other presidential contenders have shied away from addressing issues of race, Clinton has not been afraid to address it directly. She has spoken multiple times in recent days about the racism that fueled a 21-year-old white man to shoot and kill nine black men and women in Charleston last week.

  4. 4
    Randy P says:

    I’m not going to be so rash as to claim we’ve reached Peak Wingnut which we all know doesn’t exist. But I’m starting to believe we might have reached a tipping point where the Repugs get closer to 27% popular vote than 47%

  5. 5
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I don’t tweet. Can’t one of you tweeters respond to Bill Kristol by asking him if Germans should be flying the swastika to honor German soldiers who fought for Hitler? I assume many of them were just as “innocent” as Confederate soldiers.

  6. 6
    formernap says:

    Damn. Well said, Betty.

  7. 7
    kindness says:

    I like it Betty. How do we get people who don’t vote to vote though? How do we get people to stop voting against their own best self interest just because they enjoy the bullshit that spews from Fox?

  8. 8
    Anne Laurie says:

    Excellent essay, BettyC!

  9. 9
    Skippy-san says:

    Haley does not want to do this-but in SC she has enough political capital to take one for the team. She is for enough things that screw people that people will leave her alone, and they will use their black Senator as a fig leaf when they do.

  10. 10

    Doesn’t happen often, but I think Booman is off-base here. Sure, there’s more to do, but microagressions are real and symbols are incredibly important. Not saying that the modern GOP isn’t confederacy 3.0, but can you imagine growing up in SC with that flag at the statehouse?

    That’s like if my home state called me a fag every day instead of a random citizen doing it every week.

  11. 11
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    Beautiful writing here, Betty. Thank you.

  12. 12
    lamh36 says:

    Politico details the deliberations behind the GOP’s Confederate flag reversal. No empathy, no remorse, just CEOs/$.

  13. 13
    lol says:

    Jesus christ, the people who are willing to declare victory at getting rid of the confederate flag and do no more… guess what? THEY WEREN’T GOING TO DO MORE ANYWAYS. So you might as well get rid of the fucking flag.

    Don’t pretend that there’s some limited amount of progress that can be made and taking care of this will be at the expense of something else.

  14. 14
    MattF says:

    In fact, the Southern Problem has dominated our politics since… oh, the 1840’s, I guess, at least. And, in spite of the fact that the rest of the country has more or less grown up, the demographics of the core of the South hasn’t changed, and is, as ever, about as benighted as you can get. It’s the frozen piece at the core of our politics. How did that happen?

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Langston Hughes Warned Us About Trolls Like Don Lemon

    It has come to the point that the mere presence of Don Lemon warrants me to take a deep breath and possibly a shot of some dark liquor.

    On one hand, it is perplexing how off-the-wall, insensitive and lackadaisical Lemon has become. But on the other hand, Langston Hughes forewarned us of the arrival of someone like him in “The Fun of Being Black,” an essay published in 1958’s “ The Langston Hughes Reader.” In the acerbically funny piece, the Harlem-based scribe pokes fun of the idea that gabbing blacks (and whites) thrive on fighting racism in America at the time.

    So I do not know why some folks (me included) are always lamenting the particular fact that we have a race conflict in America—because a great many people get a great deal of fun out of our contemporary white-Negro battles, not to speak of the jobs that are held as a result.

    Hughes sarcastic description of “crusaders” who “off the public platform” were “some of the happiest-looking people you could ever hope to meet” actually applies today. Now we call that person a “troll.”

    For those of you who don’t know, a troll is someone who raises controversial, discredited or irrelevant arguments for the sole purpose of making people angry, creating confusion, fueling discord and getting attention. Trolls aren’t concerned with engaging in an honest debate. They just want a strong emotional reaction. They satisfy their thirst by manipulating passion points.

    Don Lemon is a troll.

  16. 16
    Nethead Jay says:

    Knocked this one out of the park, Betty. Dead on about the parallel to corporate cultures.

  17. 17
    lamh36 says:

    The people who have been fighting to bring the flag down LONG BEFORE the Charleston massacre are the same people who have been working on more than just the issue of the flag. Sure the “momentum” shift on the flag is the big easy way people outside these long standing groups can latch on, but the long time folks aren’t focusing on just the flag.

    Notice the calls now where discussions are starting about monuments…so yeah, from flag, to statue, to statutes, to legislations….

  18. 18
    jl says:

    As I said in previous thread, Kristol needs to be less selective in his history. Confederate battle flag, really the battle flag of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, is not an olde tymey symbol used to honor fallen Confederate troops. It was pushed be segregationists in response to federal efforts to ensure equal civil rights for all in the South, in the twentieth century.

    And I am all for honest history and honest evaluation of good and bad in various heritages in every region. Can put up historical plaques noting what Northern or whatever historical rich person palaces and monuments were financed with Yankee trader money from slave trade, for example.

    Any group anywhere who tolerates forces of bigotry and prejudice and discrimination hijacking their cultural heritage risks, and who does not carefully distinguish between real history and myth, risks having some cherished and dear cultural symbol hijacked and polluted, or in this case, mistaking an innovation to counter racial equality being mistaken for real heritage. That is painful to acknowledge for some, but that is the reality of the situation.

  19. 19
    Nethead Jay says:

    @rikyrah: Good piece.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    NoVA: storm’s coming in and our power is flickering.

    May move through quickly. We usually don’t have power outages….

  21. 21
    jl says:

    @lamh36: What a surprise. Only ignorant dupes take racist fantasies seriously. For the cynical manipulators it is always a tool to use for other ends. A tool that the cynical manipulators think that they can control in a free society, but a tool that they find out that they can not control in the long run.

    The flip side of that is the dupes that are manipulated by the tool are always abandoned, when the tools need to change. Atwater talked about it in his famous quote. Only difference now is that we are seeing it happen much more openly and rapidly than in the past.

  22. 22
    fuckwit says:

    The Dixie Swastika is a symbol, not something concrete, but getting rid of it– and racial epithets, etc– is an important step in the long process of rooting out racism. And, rooting out racism is an important step in the long process of eradicating American gun fetishism (i.e. ). The arc of history is long…

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:


    like we already didn’t know…but, verification is always good.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    @rikyrah: Thanks. Sad to hear Lemon is reduced to pulling doltish stunts. Are Lemon and his fellow media news celebrities unable to figure out that Obama was referring to the word by mentioning it. Obama was not saying it was OK to use the word. How hard is that to figure out, unless you can make money by being purposely obtuse about understanding relatively simple things?

  25. 25
    rikyrah says:

    Hey Kay…did you see this?

    SPLC ✔@splcenter
    Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel will not return the donations he got from hate group leader
    8:51 AM – 23 Jun 2015

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:

    Bill Kristol:

    The Left’s 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgment of Americans who fought for the Confederacy.

    That’s not an agenda, much less a 21st C. agenda. It’s a step that should have been taken immediately after the Civil War back in the 19th C., and finished in the 19th C.

    That we’re still dealing with this bullshit two-and-a-quarter centuries after the revolting 3/5th compromise and a hundred-and-fifty years after the Civil war isn’t an agenda. It’s a fucking tragedy.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:


    Great comment. People have been working on these issues for a long time but without the media attention.

  28. 28

    @jl: you ever tried explaining semiotics to a stranger in a bar? Now knock off ten iq points and you have a cable TV journalist.

  29. 29
    lamh36 says:

    Oh Lord…I can already hear the screams!

    The Controversy Over the Confederate Flag Has Reached Hazzard County via @vulture

    Warner to Stop Licensing Dukes Confederate Flag
    The studio behind the classic TV show won’t license any images of the General Lee with the stars and bars.

  30. 30
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Elizabelle: yeah, my poor eldest dog is on my lap all shivering…he hates storms

  31. 31
    cahuenga says:

    Lindsey Graham’s Fee Fees

    The most delicate structure known to man.

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:


    …. and makers of smelling salts count their $$$ over that.

  33. 33
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    They can keep the damn flag, if they burn the racists.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cahuenga: I’d say fuck Lindsey Graham, but he probably actually wants that.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: How about: “Look, Obama referred to the N-word, he mentioned it. He didn’t say it was OK for him or anyone else to use it all the time. Just an example, he didn’t say it was OK to put it on a flag and fly over a government building.”

    The whole flap about the Obama interview is BS. it’s white bigots, and people in the media pretending to misunderstand so they can make money off of white bigots and confused people. Is all it is. It is not hard to understand.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @jl: In abuse terms, it’s called “gaslighting.”

    Twisting reality, and messing with people’s heads who try to call them out on it.

    No wonder television is losing viewers by the fistful. Maybe not fast enough, but TV as it has been for decades is now a dying technology. Like typewriters.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: Yeah, but then there won’t be anyone to fly the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, deliberately adopted as a symbol of white supremacy, segregation, and racism.

  38. 38
    A guy says:

    The pics of the Clinton gore 1992 buttons over the confederate flag were interesting

  39. 39
    maya says:

    “The Left’s 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgment of Americans who fought for the Confederacy.”

    Dead on Kristol-nicht! And right after the stars & bars come down, we’re going to burn Robert E. Lee’s outhouse.

  40. 40
    M31 says:

    I thought that ‘battle flag acquisition strategies’ was about this:

    there is a confederate flag on display in Minnesota–captured by a Minnesota regiment on the 3rd day of Gettysburg. That’s the best battle flag acquisition strategy.

  41. 41


    How do we get people who don’t vote to vote though?

    I think there are two parts to that equation:

    1) Make it easier to vote. Some people would like to vote, and vote in some elections, but have a hard time voting in every election because it’s a hardship for them. In many cases, those who are trying to suppress poor and minority voting make it deliberately inconvenient, knowing the people who need to get to work will give up rather than face losing their job for being late. We need to do more to fight that kind of voter suppression.

    2) Give people who are discouraged by the belief that politicians are all the same a reason to change their mind. Part of the reason Obama galvanized so many voters is because he was visibly different. Hillary may be able to get some of the same dynamic. But even politicians who don’t look different can try to get some excitement by sounding different and talking about issues that typical plutocrat-loving politicians ignore.

  42. 42
    Keith G says:

    To achieve true victory, we have to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Southern strategy, not just the Confederacy. So let’s make expunging the rebel flag from the public square the opening salvo in a larger battle to take our country back.

    I would like to see a part of that opening salvo occur on Friday.

    President has a eulogy to give. If his team choose to make it so, this could be the speech of Obama’s presidency. I hope that is what they do. I imagine that is is what the AME community would like. Done right, this could be the message we need to give focus to the path forward in this larger battle.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    No, but I;m not surprised. He got that job with the most repulsive political campaign I have ever seen, bar none.

    Republican Josh Mandel released an ad that ostensibly targets Democrat incumbent treasurer Kevin Boyce’s ethics. But, as you’ll see, there’s also a claim (of questionable accuracy) made about a mosque. And the ad references a lobbyist linked to Boyce who goes by Noure Alo. But in the ad, Alo’s full name – Mohammed Noure Alo — is used, Barack Hussein Obama-style.

    He clearly knew what the takeaway from this ad would be, particularly against a black Democrat.

  44. 44

    @jl: to be clear, I understand all that. You’re totally right.

    It’s just so goddamned annoying.

  45. 45
    A guy says:

    Anybody see the 1992 Clinton Gore button over the rebel flag?

  46. 46
    satby says:

    Been saying the same thing for a while now Betty, and I thought Booman’s take on it worth sharing this morning too. I’m not feeling positive that much will change, contra Paul Waldman’s op-ed in the Week (sorry, links fail on the Kindle), but he makes the argument that the Southern Strategy is already dying.

  47. 47

    @A guy: keep on fuckin that chicken

  48. 48
    WereBear says:

    @satby: he makes the argument that the Southern Strategy is already dying.

    But not fast enough. Let’s move it along.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    satby says:

    @Major Major Major Major: that 23 year old chicken… that must be one of the talking points handed out in the daily bulletin of RW trollery. Someone tried the same thing on a FB post. Didn’t work any better there either.
    Pity the sad little trolls.

  51. 51
    Bex says:

    @JGabriel: There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity.

  52. 52
    satby says:

    @WereBear: it was a good article and I like Waldman usually, but he seems way too optimistic about this.

  53. 53
    srv says:

    The central myth is that we’re One Nation, Indivisible.

    That is not, and has never been true.

    Let’s get on with it.

    You will never get to where you want to go carrying the South on your back.

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    The flag has no place on state property, but I fear that all this talk about the flag, is taking away from how we got here. We need to still focus on the victims.

  55. 55
    Bokonon says:

    Don’t blame Nixon on the Quakers. Nixon used the religion of his parents the way he used everything and everybody – as a tool, and as way to get ahead. There are no signs that Nixon actually absorbed any of their values.

  56. 56
    NotMax says:

    Hate, hate, hate the phrase “take our country back” no matter who utters it. Unlike a bridge tournament’s “we” and “them,” it’s peopled by us.

    “Pull our country ahead” – kicking and screaming if needs be – that’s more like it.

    Getting people to admit the existence of prejudice is relatively simple.

    Getting people to recognize their own prejudices is difficult.

    Getting people to reject those prejudices is a damn sight harder, but the most necessary and worthwhile task of all.

  57. 57
    dmsilev says:

    @satby: I’m somewhat disappointed that he didn’t bring up Robert Byrd. Have our trolls no respect for Internet tradition?

  58. 58
    lamh36 says:

    Jim Webb is the only presidential hopeful who won’t comment on the Confederate flag controversy … via @MotherJones

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    So Lindsey Graham bent to the political winds about the capitol display. But just heard him saying he flies that same flag at his own house. Did not hear him say he intends to stop that practice himself.

  60. 60
    WereBear says:

    @lamh36: He’s No Longer Sentient to me. So to speak. He’s made himself a non-issue.

  61. 61
    the Conster says:

    @A guy:

    LOL. Clown. They didn’t have the union bug, so unofficial and anyone can make them. Did you see the ones with McCain and Palin?

  62. 62
    satby says:

    @dmsilev: just wait, it’s coming. Same FB thread had the tired old chestnut about the South being solidly Democratic during Jim Crow.

    They really are whirling like dervishes on this one. Anything to stuff this one down, even if it means the party of treason has to give up defending the flag of treason.

  63. 63
    NotMax says:


    Well might have missed it, but haven’t seen any comment from Limberbutt McCubbins either.


  64. 64

    @lamh36: Much masculine, such Scots-Irish.

  65. 65
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Got me stirred up, fired up, ready to go.

    We’re gonna need a flag.

  66. 66
    beltane says:

    @lamh36: I forgot he was a presidential hopeful.

  67. 67

    @Snarki, child of Loki:

    They can keep the damn flag, if they burn the racists.

    If they burn the racists, there won’t be anyone left who wants the flag.

  68. 68
    satby says:

    And who won the pot on when Rand would finally bravely suggest the flag of treason’s time is past? I guess he figured out (after Wal-Mart and eBay) which way the wind was blowing.

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @A Ghost To Most: We have a flag. That was settled 150 years ago.

  70. 70
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Roger Moore: Looks like Secretary Clinton is doing a great job of distinguishing herself from her potential Republican opponent. Love that she’s being vocal about voting rights, race, and other issues which Republicans won’t touch.

  71. 71
    LWA says:

    I agree with the idea that this is a good step, but just a first step.

    We also need to remember that we are fighting an adversary that can say sincerely “Yanks 1, Rebels 0….HALFTIME!”

    That is, they never, ever surrender or forget and neither should we. They are more, not less reactionary than they were even 30 years ago.

  72. 72
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Keith G: But sadly whatever President Obama says will be denigrated by the Right (and the MSM). Some segments of our populace are imprenetrable.

  73. 73
    lamh36 says:

    @NotMax: well, they have been telling the story about when McCain was running I think against GWB, and during the SC primaries, he lied about his support for the flag because it was politically expedient. Then after he lost the primaries, he came back and told the press he regretted the lie.

    So I’ll assume the reporters think there is no reason to ask McWalnuts since he’s on record from before?

  74. 74
    lamh36 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It’s not just the fact that he didn’t answer, its’ that apparently Webb and or his people are dodging the reporters and the question.

  75. 75

    @lamh36: Isn’t he an apologist for the Lost Cause narrative? Somebody had put up a link to one of Webb’s speeches in one of the threads discussing Roof’s manifesto.

  76. 76
    NotMax says:


    McCain? Why bring that addled albatross up just now?

    McCubbins at the least is an officially registered candidate.

  77. 77
    BerkeleyMom says:

    Good grief, I’m sick of these aggrieved majorities down south. My sister’s kids went to school in Boone, North Carolina and they didn’t have Memorial Day as a holiday. Why, she asked? “It’s a Yankee Holiday” was the response from the school secretary. For all their flag waving, they refused to honor the war dead with a day off from school, for pete’s sake. Don’t believe me?

  78. 78
    yet another dave says:

    So when can we get Gen Lee and company removed from the side of Stone Mountain?

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I love that she’s taking on — reclaiming, in fact — so many of the social issues that the right wing co-opted 30-40-50 years ago. I didn’t expect to be very impressed with her 2016 campaign, any more than I was in 2008, but she is pleasantly surprising me. And with Bernie tackling the economic disparity issues as noisily as he can, I am pretty excited about our chances. Between them, they are addressing issues that most Americans seem to agree with.

  80. 80
    A Ghost To Most says:


    You know that, and I know that,but ‘those people’ refuse to accept it. So here we are again.

    The flag remark was (poor) snark.

  81. 81
    NotMax says:


    Anyone seen any pushback recently against the Stone Mountain monument? It is on land owned by the state of Georgia, after all.

  82. 82
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @BerkeleyMom: No, I don’t believe you. NC schools are generally closed on Memorial Day. Many school systems this year had to use that date for snow make up days, since they had missed a lot of days due to inclement weather, and state law mandates 185 days attendance for k-12. The last time I heard that “Yankee holiday” bullshit was 50 years ago.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    Just got home and haven’t read the comments. Will in a minute.

    Need to say, Betty, this is beautiful. Spot on and worth reading several times.

  85. 85
    Sherparick says:

    @JGabriel: Yep, Bill, not a big part, but a little, sign of a smidgen of progress part that we put the flag of treason in the name of slavery into museum where they belong. General Grant said it best in his memoirs: “I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.” So yes Bill, we want to expunge all symbols of that terrible, evil, cause for which those sad, deluded men fought.

  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Agreed, to a point. To get past some stumbling stone of human endeavor takes a tipping point. The French revolution, the American revolution, etc. In the LGBT world that tipping point appears to be about a year ago, with so many states falling by the wayside concerning marriage. What was it that caused that tipping point? One state, two, three? The judicial system? Both? In the future we probably will know the answer.
    Let’s get back to the original point. Racism, institutional and cultural. Over the last 50 yrs progress has been made but very slowly and inconsistently. But now looks like a turning point. If that flag comes down and the states with some form of it in their state flags remove it, that’s big symbolism. But it’s only the very first step in a long road to rid this country of the vile shit stain that is the current republican party, it’s southern strategy, and the media that perpetuates it all.
    To answer your point, yes symbolism matters. To anyone oppressed. But just removing the symbol and not the underlying cause is only symbolic and not in the end a significant change.

  87. 87
    Coch says:

    No one seems to have pointed out. The right picture is not down South. That’s Boston, during the “busing” years of the ’70s. Those are Boston Yankees impaling that man with the American Flag because people in Southie didn’t want their kids to have to interact with “those people” in other, non white schools

  88. 88
    LAC says:

    Black people do not have the luxury of
    ” othering” the south, Betty. There is no smugness for us. Just the sometimes grim work of loving a country that treats us like the uncle that paid for us to go to college but molested us (nod to Chris rock)

    I do not want to ” other” people but I am sick of being told to try to understand some bigoted redneck because… Novel idea, how about some white people doing a little of heavy lifting all around? I know I could use a damn break.

  89. 89
    Mayur says:

    The Left’s 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgment of Americans who fought for the Confederacy.

    Wait, what?


    -“Germans who fought for the Wehrmacht”
    -“Khmer who fought for the Khmer Rouge”
    -“Fanatics who fought for Al-Qaeda”


    This is very, very confusing. Shouldn’t EVERYONE’s agenda be “expunging every trace of respect, recognition, or acknowledgement” of people who fought for the right to own slaves in defiance of their duly and democratically elected government?

    I get that Kristol is an ass, but this seems like he really has no ability to review before he hits “enter.”

  90. 90
    Keith G says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    But sadly whatever President Obama says will be denigrated by the Right (and the MSM). Some segments of our populace are imprenetrable.

    But dammit, such a message is not for the Right (and the MSM). It is for the whole country and specifically for our “ground troops” (now and future) to be energized and to be focused on (as Betty says) achieving a true victory.

  91. 91
    Denali says:

    You nailed it, Betty! (and Booman)

  92. 92
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Coch: True that it was Boston. That photo won the Pulitzer Prize for spot photography in 1977. It’s actually a bit misleading in two ways – the guy with the flag is swinging it, not trying to impale Ted Landsmark, and the guy in back who looks like he’s pinning Landsmark’s arms to his sides is actually helping him up, as he (Landsmark) had fallen to the ground prior to the picture being snapped.

  93. 93
    Tehanu says:

    Betty, terrific post. Thanks.

  94. 94
    steverinoCT says:


    …Americans who fought for the Confederacy.

    Oh, Bill, if they were fighting for the Confederacy, were they Americans? Shouldn’t there at least be a modifier (ex-, treasonous, etc.)? We should honor those Americans who are valiantly fighting with ISIS against the US!

  95. 95
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Coch: I think that was the point Betty was making by juxtaposing those pictures, though maybe it was too subtle. This can’t just be about picking on the South, because the trouble is everywhere, and always was really.

  96. 96
    john fremont says:

    @steverinoCT: Exactly Steve, say what you want about the justification or lack thereof for the Mexican American War ,but the San Patricios are not honored around the USA by having their banner flown over state capitols. We don’t name Army bases after their officers. Yet the CSA has had this for over a hundred years. What other nation has done this and flown the flag of an enemy nation among its public institutions?

  97. 97
    MCA1 says:

    Properly righteous, Betty. Thanks for that.

    I feel like we’re on the cusp of a turning tide here. Maybe there really is a Peak Wingnut, but it’s just not what we imagined it to be. What it really is, is the point at which the Republican Party and Movement Conservatism become so tainted by the longterm effects of the Southern Strategy that it becomes acceptable to declare oneself a liberal again.

    They’re on the run right now, and it’s time for Clinton and others (maybe even Obama) to start shooting them as they flee. I’d like to see some pressing of advantages right about now. We need more laughing at crackers, more people making a point of rhetorically shitting on Robert E. Lee, more making it generally uncool to be a revanchist douchebag, more sarcastic dismissals when people whine about “political correctness run amok” and similar bullshit, more people walking around in Charleston with miniature Stars and Stripes flags and giving them to the white people and saying “I understand y’all are looking for the right flag.” Mockery of the morons.

    More concretely, someone needs to be doing shit like, you know, bringing forward a fix to the portion of the VRA invalidated by the Roberts Court a couple years ago. What’s that, you say? Oh, good. Let’s follow it up with relentlessly shaming anyone who’s opposed.

    Wiser people than most of us were predicting, upon Obama’s election way back when, that if he got two terms, we would be seeing a totally different landscape by 2016, after he laid the groundwork over 8 years for people to once again accept the basics of progressive principles. I think we’re seeing that start to flower. People have finally started to internalize the language and the philosophies. It’s time for Democrats to start taking advantage, even if it feels like trolling.

  98. 98
    mclaren says:

    …Expunging every trace of respect…for the Americans for fought for the Confederacy.

    That was called “treason.”

    I have no respect for traitors. Is Bill Kristol telling us we should respect people who commit treason?

  99. 99
    BerkeleyMom says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: Well, here’s next year’s calendar (also without the holiday). My sister moved to NC from Georgia so she was pretty surprised at the non-observance. It might be just certain counties.

  100. 100
    PhilbertDesanex says:

    @NotMax: “Pull our country ahead” – kicking and screaming if needs be – that’s more like it.

    Beautiful,thanks, and I am stealing it

  101. 101
    Coch says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yup, G&T very true, but what most do not see is the pictures right before of where Landsmark is being knocked down and kicked in the face…by what appears to be a wanna be pimp.
    Regardless, I was too young at that time to know what was going on, plus I was 30 miles south living in a corn field. It wasn’t until my late teens, working at a movie theater with a woman, 10 years my senior, who grew up in Southie and (gasp) was bused that I honestly learned that racism was so bad in Massachusetts. I have to say I was memorized by her stories and not always in a good way.
    @Matt McIrvin: I’d like to think that but that is not what I got. the facts are that Boston, while it has grown is still a very racist city. I LOVE my city and would never move but the fact remains, it is what it is. I live in a good area of Dorchester. Beach, park, but even my neighbors who have been in the same houses for 3 generations are complaining that ‘its time for resident only parking because those people come here and hang out after dark” or “we need more cops to patrol because we’ve seen all the black kids, who are all in gangs, hanging out at the beach and playground at 11:00 PM!” Now, I know some of these kids are bad and hell yeah we need the cops to patrol more after dark…because all the white suburbanite ass hats coming here to be Blowjobs from Hookers, but you can hear the disdain in my neighbors voices when they talk about the kids coming to the beach from other areas of the city just to cool off.

  102. 102
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Coch: MattMc has it right — the point of the post is that racism is not exclusively a Southern problem but rather an American problem, and the juxtaposition of the images is meant to illustrate that.

    ETA: I grew up in rural FL and have lived in that state all of my life except for a few years when I lived in Boston. I loved it up there and might have stayed on if I didn’t miss my family so much and had found the cold less intolerable.

  103. 103
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bokonon: I think he absorbed that he sure as Hell wasn’t going to be a Quaker or follow Quaker teachings.

  104. 104
    Paul in KY says:

    @BerkeleyMom: You can call the board to find out. Phone number is 828-264-7190.

  105. 105
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Coch: You sure are right about Boston!

  106. 106
    Elliot J says:


    I hear you… sorrier than I can say that that has been your experience.

  107. 107

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