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Letter to those who raise the Confederate flag

The Baltimore Sun – by Dan Rodricks

Every time I see a Confederate flag in front of a house, I have a thought about starting a conversation with the man or woman, presumably a fellow American, who feels a need to display that thing 152 years after the Civil War.

Have not done so.  

And that’s because I make quick and reasonable assumptions about the kind of reception I would get if I decided to pull over, knock on the door and question the homeowner about the flag on his porch.

I assume the question would not be appreciated. Just asking about it seems judgmental; it implies that I believe there’s something wrong with displaying the Confederate flag.

And, of course, I do. I hate the sight of it. But I don’t stop and say so because I don’t want to start trouble with a stranger. And the exercise would probably be pointless, anyway.

A person who hoists a Confederate flag on his front lawn might not be as angry and as aggressive as the white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville. But you never know, and that’s a problem. There are a lot of safe conversation starters in this country, but a Confederate flag isn’t one of them.

Still, it’s tempting to say something these days, perhaps more than ever. I can’t be the only American who wanted to share a few thoughts — one-on-one, if possible — with the owner of a Confederate flag, especially after the horror in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015, and now after Charlottesville.

But how?

I’ve decided to try a letter. Here goes.

Greetings, my fellow American:

I noticed the old battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia in front of your house, and I would like to offer a few comments about it. I respect your right to display that flag. I hope you will consider what I have to say.

I guess you know that most Americans want nothing to do with the Confederate flag. We see one on a house or car or truck and assume the worst — that the owner is a racist. We figure there’s nothing to be gained from talking to you.

So we leave it alone. We drive on by. The flag’s owner might be someone we know and even like, but we say nothing.

And, besides, this is America, and it’s none of my damned business what you do on your lawn.

But hear me out.

I bet you consider yourself a patriotic American. So do I. We all take some level of pride in this country, even with all its problems. The United States has had a lot of struggles, and it’s still struggling with our history. That flag on your lawn takes us back to one of the worst struggles of all: the great conflict that tore the nation apart more than 150 years ago.

Your Confederate flag celebrates a cause that, had it succeeded, would have meant no United States as we see it today. It would have meant more generations of slavery in the 11 Confederate States of America — cruel bondage for close to 4 million men, women and children.

Had that happened, where do you think we would be now? There would be two countries, presumably, and neither as great as the one, big country that developed into a superpower in the 20th Century.

Fortunately, the Union prevailed through the long, bloody madness of the Civil War, ending the evil of slavery.

Maybe you don’t think that was a good thing. Maybe that’s why you still fly the Confederate flag.

But look, my fellow American, this issue has been settled. The vast majority of your fellow citizens are glad the Union survived and that we have our country.

While we like to think of the United States as an exceptional nation, we have a lot of work to do. America is falling behind in many ways, including in how we treat each other.

Think of your children and grandchildren. Think of the future. How do we make progress in this country — in education, science, health, clean water, clean air, healthy food, good roads, green energy, new technology and a rising middle class — if we are not united?

That does not mean we will all agree on the way to the future. But we need to agree to treat each other with respect as we try to get there. That means everybody, no exceptions. Your children and grandchildren are living in a more diverse country, and they will be better for it. Don’t teach them fear. Teach them to be good citizens and to love their neighbors. Start by taking down that flag.

Thank you for reading this.


Your fellow American.

OK, that’s it. If you like it, feel free to use it. All you need is an address, an envelope and a stamp — preferably one featuring Lady Liberty, or the U.S. flag.

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14 Responses to Letter to those who raise the Confederate flag

  1. BuelahMan says:

    Your Confederate flag celebrates a cause that, had it succeeded, would have meant no United States as we see it today. It would have meant more generations of slavery in the 11 Confederate States of America — cruel bondage for close to 4 million men, women and children.

    Well, except, no, it wouldn’t. Slavery was on its way out. Jews fought against abolition. My family was against slavery because of artificially lowered wages keeping them poorer than the slaves. My family built this country in SPITE of slavery.

    Thank goodness we have all these carpet bagging Yankees explaining what the war was all about.

  2. Sunfire says:

    “And, besides, this is America, and it’s none of my damned business what you do on your lawn.”

    That is about the only thing I’ll agree with in this bullshit article because that is what the Bill of Rights protects, the freedoms that many died to secure.

    Don’t think for a second that the union army was some righteous army of angels, they had plenty of slave owners, including General Grant. Slavery would have been phased out regardless of the Civil War. The south did nothing wrong, it was their right to succeed if they so wished. The author of this article is blind to the facts of history.

  3. Bud Fox says:

    The entire pretext of this letter is wrong. Slavery was not a big part of this….it was the government screwing over the agrarian states with taxes and no representation, and the states standing up together, against the bully and telling them “no more!” . This is the history they’re trying to erase…so no one understands that WE have the power to tell the government to f*ck off.

  4. Enemy of the State says:

    Maybe this country wouldn’t be as fcked up as it is
    Had the confederacy won

    Maybe the author only thinks about his viewpoint

    Don’t come and ask me about any of my flags as dumb as this person sounds and that rock he’s been under for his whole life must be friggen huge and heavy

    Yeah BTW
    Stay off my lawn



  6. Volthair says:

    What an idiot……

  7. Martist says:

    The “victory” of the north made it possible for US ALL to be slaves.

    THAT was the point of the war of northern aggression.

    Yes, THEY won.

    But NOT YOU or US.

    And then they played the same old song on the Germans.

    A war wrapped up in righteous lies to further their domination.

  8. Informed says:

    If you watch on U-tube the film of the civil war people both sides say they didn’t fight over slavery. They fought over states rights. After the war both sides came together and erected monuments so future generations would not forget that all people in all states deserve the same rights. This idiot apparently hasn’t viewed those films. I’m so tired of reading the war was fought over slavery. It wasn’t. Both sides had slaves. IF our education system would teach the truth and the kids would learn none of this would be happening…

  9. NC says:

    Wow! This guy has ZERO knowledge of US Civil War History and just made up an article based on his common core education system.

    Back in the day, a journalist could get fired for such a sloppy excuse for an article. He doesn’t even have any facts or evidence to even support his viewpoints.

    The only way this got passed the editors desk was because it supported the paper’s Commie philosophy.

    By the way Danny, TRY READING A FRIGGIN HISTORY BOOK!!! If your history skills are as bad as your writing skills, I’d say you need to find a new career path because your version of reality and the world is way below even that of a mindless sheeple.

  10. Vekar says:

    Now I want to buy a Confederate flag and fly it more than ever.

  11. galen says:

    Danny-Boy kinda has a jello spine. He whines. And he thinks he speaks for “most Americans.” Can’t seem to stay in the first person. Wants to put us all under his big tent. I hope Danny-Boy reads some of the brilliant comments here.


  12. Oddizee says:

    This person is product of slander. Wasn’t what the war was about
    And to begin with, union government murdered 1250 Irish protesters in NYC. Men, women, and children were protesting the “lottery” for soldiers , and were killed for it. The Disney version of the union is contrived. These were the things happening. And every war since has been forced. Revolutionary war wasn’t . A big clue as to who it serves

  13. CaptainObvious says:

    I had to quit reading after this… “especially after the horror in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015.”
    If the rest of your article rides on the assumption that the incident mentioned actually occurred as described, or at all, then I’m done.
    Bye, Bye.

  14. Bill in IL says:

    Another shallow, low IQ moron heard from. This guy is a total IMBECILE!

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