Keep it flying — the Confederate battle flag is an American flag

Well, the Charleston killings appear to have unleashed those who lead the Democratic Party and most of the U.S. media — that may be a redundancy — to make every effort to not only make race relations worse in the United States but to strain them to the breaking point if at all possible. Why? Two reasons really. First, with a grafter, liar, agent-of-multiple-foreign powers, and Benghazi-butcher like Hillary Clinton to lead them in the next presidential election, the Democrats need to make sure that Black Americans turn out in huge numbers in 2016 to vote against their own dearest interests and ensure they get at least four more years of the Obama policies that have economically ravaged the Black community economically.

Second, as the Democrats turn their post-Charleston focus toward a campaign to ban flying the Confederate battle flag — which fits nicely with their rank idiocy of wanting to put historical bit-players like Harriet Tubman or Eleanor Roosevelt on the ten-dollar bill to replace the irreplaceable Alexander Hamilton — Obama, Clinton, and their lieutenants intend to continue erasing from U.S. history any episode, person, or religious influence that does not please them, especially the fact of Democratic responsibility for slavery, civil war, segregation, and minority-domination of the national government. While doing so, they and their media toadies will shame, damn, and demonize any person who dares object to their absurd, party-line version of this nation’s history, a version that when taught truthfully would show their party to be the traditional and relentless scourge of Black Americans.

The tragedy of the U.S. Civil War, which was brought on by the Democratic Party and its unnecessary interventionist war in Mexico, was not only that it was fought, but that it was fought before it had to be fought. The South’s leaders feared what they believed the newly elected Lincoln administration would do in future years, not because of what Lincoln had promised to do during the just-concluded presidential election campaign. Indeed, Lincoln had repeatedly gone out of his way to stress with great clarity that he planned to do nothing that would either damage the South’s economy or revoke the constitutional guarantees protecting slavery that the South had secured in the Constitution. Southern leaders did not trust Lincoln — and his so-called “Black Republicans” — and so they declared independence and launched what really was an unnecessary and preemptive war, not unlike the one the Neoconservatives started in Iraq in 2003. The new Confederate States of America thus threw the dice and lost all they intended to win and most all of what they desired to preserve. One can only hope that history will repeat itself in regard to the Neoconservatives — and soon.

At its start, the Civil War was not fought as a war to free the slaves, but rather as a war to maintain the Union; in 1861, a war waged by the U.S. government to free the slaves — as Lincoln recognized — would have been very unpopular in the North and clearly unconstitutional. It was not until 1863, and then only as a war measure not a change in the Constitution, did Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation and thereby begin a move toward the destruction of constitutionally sanctioned slavery. This move would have been terminated at Appomattox if the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments had not been adopted by the Congress and the states. (NB: Oddly and perhaps ultimately tragically, those amendments, like the original 1787 Constitution, failed to state that the American Union is to be perpetual. They thus left a situation in which secessionists had been utterly defeated in war, but also one that left secession as a valid response to real or perceived tyranny, and it is a response to tyranny that was pretty clearly approved by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence, by the tenets of the Reformed Protestant Christianity on which America was founded, and by that most rare characteristic, plain commonsense.)

So the war was fought and over 620,000 Americans were killed between 1861 and 1865. The war was fought for many reasons. In the North, to preserve the Union, put down “Southern traitors,” and, as the war proceeded, to forever end the institution of slavery in the United States. In the south, the Confederates fought not only to preserve the Constitution’s protection of slavery, but, equally, to defend the South’s agricultural economy and way of life, to maintain governing practices that gave primacy to county and state governments and abhorred national-government intervention, and to preserve the localist and communitarian culture that dominated the South even as it varied from state to state, all of which were intertwined with the institution of slavery.

The South’s defeat either undermined or destroyed much of the foregoing, and also left nearly 300,000 Confederate dead and many tens of thousands more maimed. In addition, no region of the United States has ever been as economically devastated and depopulated by war as was the Confederacy. Post-war reconstruction brought military government to the South, and under it the national Democratic Party and its southern affiliates labored mightily to re-subjugate the newly free Blacks, eventually succeeding by implementing Jim Crow laws; motivating the birth of the Klan and then protecting it; establishing separate-but-equal schools and public facilities; and enacting codes of lawful segregation — all of which Democrats defended in a fight to the death until the 1960s. In U.S. history, from the ratification of the Constitution to the economic devastation wrought by Obama on contemporary Black Americans, the men and women who run Democratic Party, from Jefferson and Jackson forward, have been the ferocious enemy of Black Americans entering the mainstream of American life, to this day bending every tool of political power — especially in the areas of free trade and unlimited, illegal immigration — to keep them angry, unemployed, mired in poverty, and politically and economically dependent in a manner that approaches quite near to re-enslavement.

And now, to maintain the Black community in their thrall, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and likely all of their party’s leaders — and Republican fools like Mitt Romney — will work to ban Americans or their elected representatives from flying one of the nation’s “other” flags, the Army of Northern Virginia’s battle flag. Why it should be permissible to fly the Grand Union Flag, the flag current during the war of 1812, the anti-British “Don’t treat on me” flag, the Black Panthers’ flag, or any other flag that has played a role in our national history is unfathomable, so long as Old Glory is always at the highest point wherever it is flown — as it is in South Carolina.

As noted, the Confederate flag in question was carried into battle by one of America’s three greatest armies, the Army of Northern Virginia. Under the superb command of Marse Robert that army’s battle flag came close to being a national flag of an independent Confederate States of America. Thank God it did not. But neither were those who fought under that banner executed, imprisoned, permanently disenfranchised, or exiled, as the losers in most other civil wars have been. As Lincoln advised, U.S. Grant and William T. Sherman “let ’em up easy.” Thereafter, the battle flag was flown for some bad purposes, as the emblem of the Klan and the Democratic Party’s southern wing, but also for one indispensable positive purpose — the slow but steady rejoining of north and south.

The flag of Lee’s army flew at innumerable annual reunions of regiments from both sides of the war, as well as national meetings of the veterans of both armies. The flag’s message — then and now — is one of deserved pride in the Confederacy’s principled and valiant, if losing fight against the Union; of reverence for southern war dead and untold numbers of amputees; and a stubborn determination to preserve what is best in the South’s traditional localist and communitarian lifestyle. At the same time, the flag flew over a region that gradually grew to again love the Union it had attempted to leave, and which today probably contributes a larger proportion of its young men and women to the U.S. armed services than any other region of the nation.

In one of the last great gatherings of Civil War veterans from both sides at Gettysburg on 3 July 1938, President Roosevelt recalled for the now elderly and quickly dwindling numbers of Johnnie Rebs and Billy Yanks that in November, 1863, another president had spoken on the same battlefield. “Lincoln,” Roosevelt said, “spoke in solace for all who fought upon this field; and the years have laid their balm upon their wounds. Men who wore the blue and men who wore the gray are here together, a fragment spared by time. They are brought here by the memories of old divided loyalties, but they meet here in united loyalty to a united cause which the unfolding years have made it easier to see. All of them we honor, not asking under which flag they fought then—thankful that they stand together under one flag now.” As Roosevelt spoke, the Stars-and-Stripes and Stars-and-Bars fluttered weakly next to each other in the little bit of wind that blew on that sultry day.

In closing his speech, President Roosevelt reminded the wizened former enemies that the restoration of national unity was Lincoln’s most important message in his address at Gettysburg in 1863.

That is why Lincoln—commander of a people as well as of an army—asked that his battle end “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” To the hurt of those who came after him, Lincoln’s plea was long denied. A generation passed before the new unity became accepted fact. In later years new needs arose, and with them new tasks, worldwide in their perplexities, their bitterness and their modes of strife. Here in our land we give thanks that, avoiding war, we seek our ends through the peaceful processes of popular government under the Constitution. It is another conflict, a conflict as fundamental as Lincoln’s, fought not with glint of steel, but with appeals to reason and justice on a thousand fronts—seeking to save for our common country opportunity and security for citizens in a free society.

Like it or not, the Confederate Battle flag has and does play an important part in American history and society; it is a symbol of what we had, what we lost, and what we are now still in many ways working to recover. To ban that flag for the sake of making political hay for cynical Democratic authoritarians like Obama and Clinton — and to please the academy, the national media, and that fool Romney — would be a costly mistake and yet another disservice to American history.

A crazed young racist killed those nine Black Americans while they were studying the bible in Charleston. He used the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of his hatred, and to ban that much and rightly honored flag as a consequence of one man’s murderous action would be to shame and indict the entire South as racist entity, and, just perhaps, kindle in some small measure regional animosities toward what is still far from a perpetual union.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.