Choose your flag. Choose your cliche. Choose your side.
There can be only one.
Either you’re in, or you’re out.You’re either for us, or against us.
Don’t like it? Get out.
Here’s a topical chestnut from the archives of The Onion. South Carolina, Georgia… at this point, I’m read to skewer the whole lot from Virginia to Texas.
Symbols. I should respond to them with a clearer head. I’m a smart guy, I know some things, like the way symbols work to galvanize allies and adversaries in their causes. Especially flags. Especially in this country. A few days ago I posted about the inanity of both flag-burning and opposing flag burning, and I stand by those arguments–but I have to admit that, this morning, I could burn confederate flag. I could set its polyester weave on fire and stomp on it while it burned. And smile. I’d savor it.
I have a bunch of relatives who live in the south–their parents, my wife’s sisters, are carpetbaggers in the parlance of the culture, not deeply ingrained in the redneck ethos, but some of my nephews feel the pull. We had a discussion around Christmas about the controversial giant rebel flag along I95 south of Fredericksburg, Virginia–my take being that it was a highly offensive symbol of oppression and sedition. They countered with the “aw, unclc Chuck–you just don’t understand, it’s a southern thing.”
It is not a southern thing. It is an ignorant hayseed thing that, while it may be embraced by a small army of lazy-minded Buttheads who think it is cool because it’s, “you know, dude, rebellious” it is historically the battle flag of domestic enemy, the goal of which was to destroy the United States of America and maintain an economic system based on the violent subjugation of human beings. Southerners can singsong all they want about gentility and mint juleps. but the glorious past they wistfully celebrate was a feudal nightmare of petty, tyrannical lords and ladies presiding over enslaved Africans and a largely uneducated, poverty-struck underclass of white tenants and laborers. And that’s the irony of it: most of the yahoos who idealize the glorious confederate past are descended from folks whose conditions were no better than the black folks they hated so much.
A few words pop into my mind when I see that rebel flag: IDIOT, IGNORANT, STUPID, and TRAITOR. And today, I’m done looking the other way and shaking my head at people whom I have, for the most part, given a free pass on this shit because of their mental and social defects. Maybe it will get my ass kicked, maybe it will get me shot, but I’m ready to do some finger pointing and calling out, and I urge you to do the same: when you see a rebel flag, look the owner in the eye and call ’em a racist Un-American piece of shit.
Remember the company that poisoned the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t–at the time, the media was a lot more focused on Justin Beiber’s throwing eggs at his neighbors’ house than at a clusterfuck some have called the worst man-made natural disaster in the past hundred years. But it did happen:
And now that company has begun bankruptcy proceedings that may ultimately allow them to emerge on the other side unscathed–and their victims uncompensated. Remember that?
Their chemicals are at my house now. Really. I wish I was joking; I really do.
But I’m not.
The news came out today that Freedom Industries has moved the remaining material to a facility about ten minutes from my house–not in the watershed that provides my drinking water, thank the gods, but I wouldn’t be happy if my community pulled it’s water from the Crooked Creek-Kiskiminetas-Allegheny River watershed. Better be safe and put a few gallons up on the shelf, folks.
Freedom–that operates locally as Rosebud Mining (a proudly non-Union mine)–brought that crap here after regulators nixed some of their other facilities for being just as dangerous as the run-down, outdated set-up that spilled into the river upstream from Charleston, WV. Now that stuff is upriver from a million Westsylvanians.
And of course we can trust them to take care of things, right? To not be sneaky slimeballs who, if an accident should happen, will stand up and do their duty to take responsibility. Ah, yeh–sure. Whatever.