The Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter that hoisted that gigantic Confederate flag in Tampa, Florida is about to get its 15 minutes of fame extended. That 60x90 foot symbol of repression and slavery is going to be flying during the Super Bowl week.
"We fly it so we can explain it" said one SCV member when asked by the press what the motives are in this endeavor. Does that explanation include a discussion of slavery in the United States and its primary role in Southern secession and Civil War?
There is no small amount of irony that this flag was made in China. Whenever the relationship of forced labor and this flag is presented, the SCV tries to separate the two as much as possible. Given that denial, you would think they might want to demonstrate how this flag was made by well-paid, fairly-treated workers, perhaps from the region it represented.
There's just so much wrong about this flag and its display in this manner. The one thing that is not wrong is the group's right to fly it. They have the same freedom to fly it as I have to rip them for being disingenuous in their motives and ignorant of the fact that this flag has many meanings to many people. It may represent some Lost Cause apologia to some, but that doesn't give them the monopoly on symbolism. To millions of others this flag, and other flags of the Confederacy, represent a society built upon the enslavement of others and a rebellion fomented to protect that institution.
We've come so far as a country and the last few months have brought such a sense of pride and energy despite the challenges we face. This flag display could be a detractor, but I say we just leave these agitators in the dust behind us as we move forward. "What they are talking about does not represent the values of Hillsborough County," said Curtis Stokes, the president of the Hillsborough County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "All they want is publicity."
He's right, just absolutely right. While we can't take the flag down and most of the people who helped raise this one are unlikely to extend their worldview, we can turn away, drive away, walk away back to our communities where the values behind this flag have no foothold.