Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederate Battle Flag

My thoughts and prayers are with the grieving families and friends in Charleston, South Carolina. We all grieve with you.

The Confederate Battle Flag has come under fire again, being blamed for this senseless massacre. The flag did not commit this crime, as it was the act of one sick person. When asked why, Roof stated that he wanted to start another race war. He will not accomplish that, but he does get the satisfaction of playing a part in this national debate over the display of the flag. The banning of flags and monuments is like censorship of a history book in the library. We should use these as a teaching tool  just like a history book, let flags and monuments remind us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We must come together, put the hate from the past to rest with the wonderful souls that we honor and lay to rest today. Let us honor them by teaching the youth of today, being role models and mentors and leading with good examples. The sad reality is if we do not carry on in this manner there will be more Roofs and these beautiful people will have died in vain. By banning flags, removing monuments and hiding the dark places in history is to repeat history. We already see that this is offending and those who vandalize monuments with paint are trying to put out a fire with gasoline. These are really great examples to teach children. Hate breeds hate and violence leads to more violent acts. Why not use your painting energy to educate yourself about what these monuments and the Confederate Flag teach us.

I know of no flag flying that is not soiled with the blood of the good, and stained with acts that are dark. The Confederate Battle Flag is being associated as a symbol of slavery, a dark place in United States history. That flag was not around when slavery came about in this country and hiding it will not end racism or change the fact that slavery, the flag, the bloody Civil War are all part of our past.

What about the United States Flag and should we associate it with unsavory events of our history? Under the United States Flag in 1830 the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Of all Indian policies adapted under the U.S. Flag, none was more heartless than removal. This led to what is know by the Cherokee as the Trail of Tears. In 1838 General Winfield Scott moved against the peaceful Cherokee people ordering the remaining 15,000 be moving west within a month. They were stripped of their land, everything they had and marched from Georgia to Oklahoma leading to the death of 4000 plus along the way. The accounts of the Trail of Tears are as horrific and sickening as it gets.

Under orders of Abe Lincoln, 38 Dakota Sioux were hanged at Mankato, Minnesota on December 26th 1862, the largest mass execution in United States history, basically for being hungry. Banned from hunting beyond the boundaries of their reservation and starving because their provisions, that were supposed to be provided by the government, were sold to settlers instead. Given only rotting meat, unfit for the dogs, some of the men slipped out to find food for their starving families and stole some eggs from settlers causing a skirmish. It is unclear if the men hung were even guilty at all. I highly recommend typing in Dakota 38 + 2 in your search engine and watch this documentary.

Flying the United States Flag, Brigadier General James H. Carleton, U.S. Army Commander, removed the Navajo from the 30,000 square miles they occupied and relocated them to Fort Sumner (Bosque Redondo) in New Mexico. What is know as The Long Walk began in 1863 and consisted of 300 miles. About 9000 Navajo were herded like cattle, with little food or water, to Bosque Redondo. Those who could not keep up with the others were shot and killed, whether they were women giving birth, the ill, or individuals who had paused to help others. As many as 2000 avoided capture by the military, but some were found by slave traders and sold. At least 2000 men, women, and children died during the Long Walk or at Bosque Redondo. Fort Sumner was harsh and corn does not grow there. They starved, died of sickness, and were attacked by enemies. Navajo boys are said to have gone to were the horses and mules were corralled, rooted around in the manure for undigested corn, and roasted it as food. If that does not hurt your heart you don't have one.

Just as the Confederate Battle Flag did not cause slavery or Dyllan Roof to hate and kill, the American Flag did not cause any of these atrocities. It is sad that a historic symbol is wrongly associated with racism. Ethnocentrism, or the belief that one's own culture is superior to another is the seed of racism. When one sees that we are all equal even if we may be different, then they are past racism.

The United States of America is the greatest country in the world to live and the American Flag is the symbol that we cherish our freedom and just as the door to the American Methodist Epistocal Church door is open and welcomes all, so is America. Our flag may have stains, as all flags do, but many have given their life to protect what she stands for, freedom to worship, freedom of speech, freedom to debate this issue in an intelligent, yet peaceful manner, as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all no matter what race or whether you come from the north, south, east, or west. We are America, we are Old Glory and long may she wave.


When good people are hurt it is the cause of all those who might be called good to suffer.

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting