July 4, 2015, Independence Day
by Wayne T. Dowdy
This blog may contain issues sensitive to some. I am sorry if you are one of them. If so, I do thank you for stopping by but maybe it is best for you to scroll on to read my many other blogs available for your pleasure, or otherwise find something else to read. My words Straight From the Pen are not written to please everyone because I know that is an impossible task. A lot of people enjoy politically correct, sugarcoated BS. That is not my style. I fly a different flag called Truth. My intent is not to offend anyone but some things are unavoidable. So be it!
CIVIL WAR: I raise the Confederate Flag in this blog to rebel against all of the politically correct BS in the news about issues surrounding Southern Heritage. Some politicians want to stop the celebration of the Confederate Memorial holiday, and to remove from state buildings and grounds: Confederate flags, monuments, statues of Confederate heroes, and other remnants of the American Civil War (1861-1865) because some people find those things offensive. I find it offensive when people lie about history to support their agenda, such lies as the main reason for the Civil War being slavery.
Was it slavery or was it the economic edge Southern plantation owners had over competitors in Cotton markets, due to the slave labor? Economics. Was slavery more of an ideology used by the Union to get the poor to fight their battles? If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation of Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863? Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles? Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.
I find it offensive for politicians to use the Charleston Church Massacres that I wrote about in “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind,” as justification to remove evidence of the bloodiest and most gruesome war fought on American soil. The war where smaller bands of Southerners held their own against larger troops of Union Soldiers, until the advent of the repeating rifle, which tilted the war in favor of the Northern troops who had more food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies, because of the economic embargoes placed on the South. The North won the war but never defeated Southern Pride. The Confederate flag is a reminder of that, rather than slavery, as has been used to manipulate the masses to take down the flag.
Six-hundred thousand Confederate Soldiers fought against 2,213,363 Union Soldiers.* The southeastern states were the last to fall. When the war ended with the surrender of the last Confederate troop on May 26, 1865, there were 646,392 Union casualties, with 140,414 of those casualties being battle deaths, compared to the 133,821 Confederate casualties, 75,524 of which were battle deaths. After their imprisonment for their part in the war, another 26,000-31,000 Confederate personnel died in Union prisons. With my long history as a prisoner of such forces, I suspect that most of those died due to disease, lack of medical care, mistreatment, and overall poor living conditions.
REBELS WITH A CAUSE: Rebels, those Confederate Southern Soldiers were called, the proud label worn by those who refused to conform to ways established by a government not of their choosing. Rebels, a part of Southern history and Southern Pride for those who died fighting for a cause; not because of slavery or why the politicians decided to fight the Civil War. It was about fighting to keep what was theirs, fighting those damned Yankees who come down to take their land, who raped their women, murdered their children, and burned their homes in the name of Justice–the same as had been done to Native Americans by several Union troops.
Most Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War never owned a slave and most likely never knew why they had to go out and fight, other than to defend their land and heritage. Firing a gun, running through the woods, and working hard to survive came more natural to the Southern man who grew up hunting and fishing to survive, than it did to the Union troops. You can believe that when Union forces heard the rebel yell and saw those southern soldiers waving the Confederate Flag and charging like bulls, that it made adrenaline and cortisol levels soar, instilling fear in everyone’s heart before the battle began with a brutality not known to the men and boys who stood fighting for their lives. Early into battle, Union troops learned to retreat or die when overran by Confederates who fought with a passion to defend their land against the invaders.
No wonder politicians want to remove remnants of the Civil War. The real reason for wanting to remove the Confederate Flag and other historical relics, probably does not concern the murders of nine innocent people by a gunman who waved a Confederate flag. Governments do not like Rebels. The Confederate Flag reminds them of those who refused to conform to their laws and relinquish control of their southern land.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA: Forty-two delegates from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida gathered in Birmingham, Alabama and formed the government for the Confederate States of America in February of 1861, by electing a provisional president, vice president, and adopting a provisional constitution to secede from the Union. Other states followed and the Civil War began two months later in South Carolina.
CONFEDERATE FLAG: The flag adopted by their Congress in 1861 consisted of a “[r]ed field with a white stripe and blue jack with a circle of white stars. Later the more popular flag was the red field with blue diagonal crossbars that held 13 white stars for the 11 states in the Confederacy plus Kentucky and Missouri.” [THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS, page 507, 2009] That is the flag in the news that some want to remove from history. Since the Civil War began at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, where rebel forces took the fort after two days of fighting, it seems absurd that politicians want to remove the flag from state grounds, as if that will somehow cover the history of a town that attracts tourists who come see where it all began. If removing the flag would stop hate and racism, then I’d say take it down and burn it, but hate and racism comes from a dark place in the minds of humans, usually from the minds of those who point their fingers at others to call them racists. The true racist stands behind the pointed finger.
As a child who grew up in the southern state of Georgia, most of us considered the Confederate flag as the Rebel Flag. I never knew of any peers who waved a Confederate flag in association with slavery or racism; some may have, but most of whom I knew liked the Rebel Flag because of just that, it showed that we were Rebels who refused to conform to the rules of the government, which is why many of us ended up in their prisons. We fought the law and the law won.
AMERICAN FLAG: Should we take down the American flag in the name of political correctness because it offends people? No. History is just that: history. We can’t change the past, we can only use it to better the future. If we are concerned about offending people with our national history, how about all of the evils done in the name of justice by people who waved the American flag? Do we take down the flag because it reminds them of the evil done by the villains who waved it? Of course not! How about those Native Americans who the American flag reminds of the murders of their ancestors and the desecration of their sacred land and places of worship? How about all of the promises made to their people by government representatives during negotiations that the United States reneged on, repeatedly? How about those who waved the American flag and put a bounty on a primary food source of many tribes–American buffalos–by claiming to need buffalo hides, but really wanted to starve Native Americans while buffalo carcasses rotted on the plains? Do we return their land to make amends for our transgressions?
FLAGS: The above facts are a terrible part of American history that I am a part of by being American, which I am ashamed of in one sense, but proud of in another–being American that is. I am not proud of the atrocities committed by those before me. I am proud to be an American and feel we have the best country in the world. I am equally as proud of being a Southerner who will always wave the Confederate flag on an emotional level, but not physically.
Personally, I don’t care if they take down and burn all flags. But oh, that would offend someone. Okay, let’s take down the American flag and put up the Rainbow flag in its place to show the evolution of equal protection rights. But, oh, that will offend someone, too. My solution: Fly all flags with pride that people fought and died for to protect their interests. Cut the politically correct BS. Let whiners grow up and deal with their emotions to learn that life doesn’t revolve around feelings. It takes strength to survive.
My level of political correctness shows when I use BS in place of bullshit and in minimizing the use of profanity in my writings to avoid offending readers. I feel that the Politically Correct agenda breeds passivity that causes some people to not fight because they have been taught not to offend, sometimes with troubling results when faced with predators who prey on weakness and innocent victims. I am reminded of the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech Massacre when college students waited in a line inside of a classroom for a killer to systematically shoot each of them, rather than to fight for their lives by throwing desks or doing what they could to avoid the inevitable. I did not fault the young adult victims. I wept for them and their families. I fault the system that taught them to be passive. I do not promote violence. I do promote standing up to fight to protect what is yours. After all, I am a rebel waving the Confederate flag with Southern pride. Rebels fight against the odds.
CONCLUSION: Well, where do we go from here? Regardless of what one does someone will find a flaw or be offended; someone will complain and want it “their way”; others will give praise over the same action, while some will never be satisfied no matter how hard you try to appease them. How about diverting our energy and resources towards trying to find and eliminate the root cause in our society that cause people to commit horrendous crimes, like those committed by Dylann Roof who murdered those nine people at the Emanuel AME Church. People who want to kill will always find a way to carry out their plan. Politicians would best serve the people by focusing on a solution to eliminate evil minds. The worse lies are told in silence, not by those waving a Confederate flag. Taking down the flag will not accomplish anything other than creating more turmoil. Telling the truth about the real reason the Civil War was fought and what the Confederate flag represents might ease tensions as much as removing it.
I wave the Confederate Flag to honor those brave men and women who died defending their land, the same as I wave the American flag to honor the same type of men and women who defend this country, not to honor those who have committed evil acts in the name of justice. I apologize if that offends someone but I stand behind all I have written in the name of Southern Pride, straight from the pen.
Wayne T. Dowdy, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*statistics as reported in the 2009 WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS.
For other Civil War related readings, go to thelastcharlestonconfederate.weebly.com