Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


June 30, 2015: It's Time to Put the Confederate Flag to Rest

By Rob Tenery, MD on June 30, 2015

One of this country's basic tenants is freedom of expression. The recent debate over flying the Confederate flag over the state house in South Carolina, put the possible limits of freedom of expression to the test. When the Confederate States surrendered to the Union Army, they gave up control and, once again, our country joined together as one.

That did not mean the Confederate states had to give up all their southern traditions and act only as 'Yankees'. It did, however, mean the end of slavery. Now, 150 years later, under a black President, this country is dealing with racial unrest in the black community over discrimination with law enforcement and job opportunity. The causes of the plight in the black population are not a point of this posting, but their concern over being offended by continuing to fly the Confederate flag is.

To many, if not most of the blacks, the flag is a symbol of their oppression. Although it was a century and a half ago, their memory of that pain still lingers. As a possible comparison, the oppression of the Jews under Hitler's Nazi, Germany was a holocaust of even greater proportion, than slavery in the United States. But both injustices left scars that may never be totally washed away by time. Continuing to fly the Nazi flag after Hitler's army fell was never a question. So, it seems we need to put flying the Confederate flag to rest over the public institutions, not just because the North won the war, but out of respect to the members of our black community.

The Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, called for the American flag to be banned due to its link with racism. Media analyst, Mark Dice, asked random people to sign a petition that would eliminate our current flag and substitute it for another. Although many turned him down, many did not--- demonstrating either their lack of concern for our country or ignorance. I’m not sure which is worse.

Our forefathers, black, white and in-between fought for the freedom to raise ‘Old Glory’ as a symbol of our united country. And nothing should stand in our way.

Nothing!




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