April 19, 2011
Editor’s Note: The appeal of the Confederate flag goes beyond the questions of racism and the electoral calculus of Republican politicos. The flag of the Confederacy has long been seen by the ignoramuses of America, the so-called “silent majority” —overwhelmingly white—as a symbol of personal rebellion, of losers in a noble cause (any cause will do), and the standard of macho men capable of making their own way in the world via muscle, gun and spit, and to hell with everybody else. This notion has been catered to by many institutions, beginning with Hollywood, an industry that, while dominated by Jewish moguls, saw no real issues in massacring history to produce mawkish paeans to the Old South, and am not talking here about notorious (if artistically engaging examples) like Gone With the Wind or Birth of a Nation, but scores of B Westerns in which the taciturn hero (or heroes) turn out to be former rebs in search of a new destiny. They always get the girl, too.
That’s why Confederate flags adorn so many pickup trucks in California, and in so many “Yankee” states, from Illinois to Maine and upstate New York, regions that could hardly be seen as dens of old Southern resentment. In a world that is changing fast and in which they feel lost and powerless, such poor whites flock to badly understood symbols to proclaim their defiance. Their pent-up anger—really and properly a class question— is misdirected and vented off in the form of racism, and old valve, but the main highway is massive ignorance resting on abetted infantilism.
Incidentally, this piece appeared in a Democratic-party friendly blog, (Addictinginfo.org) hence the simplistic pro-Obama notion that Republican leaders are obstructing Obama just because he’s black. While the race card is certainly there, being used with complete shamelessness, the chief engine behind all this rotten and cynical Kabuki theater between Democrats and Republicans is class. C-L-A-S-S, the grand denominator that trumps all other categories combined. Until these critics get that basic notion through their heads they will look at the world in a mangled way, opening doors to their own manipulation via scores of wedge issues, while excusing the Democrats for their hypocritical complicity in the crimes of the oligarchy. —P. Greanville