At this time, the southern states in the United States are debating about whether or not to get rid of the Confederate flag, only a few weeks after that church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina – a somber reminder of how violent our world has become, perhaps more than in past decades or even centuries, despite the many positive advances that were made for humanity’s benefit.
As we already know from studying U.S. history in both school and college, the Confederacy of the United States was founded almost two months before the start of the Civil War in mid-April 1861 for several reasons which no doubt played a major role in the creation of its own flag – including, unfortunately, the right to enslave African-Americans, which was never noble from the very beginning, even though the Confederacy claimed that it was created so that they could preserve what they saw as traditional Southern values. But those misguided values would end up hindering the Confederacy and help bring about its own downfall when the Civil War ended in 1865 – though racial prejudice in the South would regrettably endure for almost the next century. Then again, racial prejudice in the South – and the rest of the U.S. – has never completely disappeared since the 1950’s and 1960’s, based in part on the violence that’s made news headlines in the past few years, and may never end, unless we all see bigotry for what it truly is, which will lead to its (hopefully) permanent extinction.
The dilemma in the American Deep South over whether or not to get rid of the Confederate flag, of course, is nothing new – no doubt Germany wondered if it should get rid of all Nazi flags as it neared total defeat at the end of World War II. But unlike those in the Deep South who still believe that racial bigotry is a way of life for them – most Germans quickly found out that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis weren’t noble, given the crimes they committed before and during World War II, with many of them largely hidden from much of the world until almost the war’s end. Thankfully, today’s Germany is wise enough to avoid supporting any extreme right-wing politicians who care nothing for democracy, knowing that it won’t do the country – and the rest of the world – any good in the long run.
Personally, I hope that the American Deep South does retire the Confederate flag for good – if anything else, to permanently remove the stigma that what several generations of Southerners thought was right and proper was in reality politically incorrect and morally outdated, and especially if all of us want to live in a prejudice-free world. As the legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius, no stranger to the injustices of his own time, said centuries ago: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” That’s one lesson that shouldn’t be forgotten – and especially if we want bigotry in all its forms to be eliminated for good.
John Lavernoich is the author of three books (including the first two Chameleons, Inc. novels), as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet. To learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his various creative accomplishments, please check out the following websites listed below:
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