This recycled simmer-boil-simmer debate about whether to destroy, honor or moth-ball the Confederate flag reminds me of Americans’ drug-like habit of chasing icons and fighting over labels—undoubtedly violence-supporting icons which are emotionally powerful, but have no real power.
I’ll get back to that thought in a moment, but allow me to throw a large slice of No-Brainer on the table to address the flag debate: the American Civil War was fought because of slavery.
Not over moral principles, but slavery.
The Northern and Southern sects of the ruling 1 Percent back then had a violent difference in opinion over how to utilize national resources for generating loot.
One side wanted more factory workers while the other wanted more field slaves.
The challenge was to convince the masses of American people who owned neither machines nor slaves to become the violent muscle behind these opinions.
So the whole idea of middle class and poor southerners fighting to preserve their guns, quixotic plantation-owning aspirations, individual liberties, states’ rights and of course “our white women” was simply a sales job to encourage killing US government soldiers for the rich.
Therefore, any flag—including a Confederate one—which encourages others to recall a time in life they feel proud of, and that life included keeping other humans in bondage, is a flag which represents a life of hatred and inequality.
Even Confederate flag lovers with highly willful 2015 imaginations can’t romanticize sitting on porch swings and sipping mint juleps while overseeing lush plantations their families likely never had (nor will)—or harvesting the earth as successful yeomen—without deliberately blocking out the images of slaves who served those beverages.
And I don’t give head nods to that kind of life.
Now, back to icons and power. With apologies to Bree Newsome and her brave act in South Carolina, I still say that any flag removal, north or south of the Mason–Dixon line, will never erase the problem which has plagued this country since Christopher Columbus’ homicidal second visit to the so-called New World: the imbalance, use and abuse of power.
The oligarchs wouldn’t mind one bit that you and your conveniently-arranged enemies work yourselves into a hyperkinetic stupor over social issues like Confederate flags, abortion, immigration and gay rights. While you’re fighting, the financial benefits secured by the One Percent—with the US government’s help—are ultra-privatized, but the costs for those gains are carried by you and your adversaries in the form of deficits and public debt.
On top of that, all of you are becoming poorer but blame each other for empty pockets.
As long as you keep your focus away from power-wielding activities the US government cares about like printing money, fighting endless wars overseas (see this, this, this, this and this) and cobbling together lop-sided trade deals to bolster today’s One Percent, I’m sure you’ll find some ultra-rich person who is willing to give you a few dollars for your next social pursuit.
Oh, and as much as I support Americans’ right to love and marry each other regardless of orientation, I have news to share with the LGBT community—the latest Supreme Court decision and this recent White House incident (and see this) tell me that President Obama is finshed with gay rights for the rest of his term.
After all, social agendas are only helpful to Presidents when votes are at stake, and Mr. Obama has more expensive fish to fry these days…
song currently stuck in my head: “bad for me (larry levan remix)” dee dee bridgewater