More and more I’m wanting the left to engage in rhetorical judo. There are so many times when watching clips from the impeachment hearings that I just want the witnesses to verbally hip-throw the dishonest and untenable premises of the questions that they are asked.
Likewise, we’re talking again about the confederate flag and “heritage”. PZ quotes officials from the town of Wake Forest, NC (via a Washington Post article) saying
“We recognize that for some the flag represents racism, hatred and bigotry, while others see it as a representation of Southern heritage protected as a matter of freedom of speech/freedom of expression.”
Why are these officials able to frame this as a dichotomy. Don’t we have any competent journalists here? The correct response should be:
These views are not at odds. The confederate flag represents racism, hatred, and bigotry. It further and even more intensely represents violence: the violence committed against US troops simply doing their jobs, protecting the nation, who were violently attacked by traitors as well as the many civilians who were beaten and killed during slavery and Jim Crow to prevent kidnappers from being held accountable or simply to control captives.
This is a mater of history, and as our heritage is the sum of history’s effects on our present, this racism, hatred, bigotry and violence are a part of that heritage. And yes, flying a flag, any flag, is a protected act of speech in almost any circumstance you could imagine. But we, today, criticize that act with speech of our own, because as much as racism, hatred, bigotry and violence are indeed our heritage, passed down from the generations who came before, we are not satisfied passing it down again.
Absolutely this is our heritage, and that is a tragedy. We live and work for the day when these things cease being heritage and pass instead into history.