Someone on Facebook made a joke last week that it looked like a war broke out between the Confederates and a Skittles factory. It was funny because it was true.
Half of Facebook, it seemed, were upset about the continued existence of the Confederate flag ― but happy that the Supreme Court acknowledged gay marriage. The other half were upset about the continued existence of homosexuals but happy that the state of South Carolina acknowledged their white rights. I’m not sure why it seemed to break down in that manner, but it did.
I don’t support an outright ban on the Confederate flag, but I don’t think it should be flown on state capitol buildings. And I don’t think it should be part of any state flags — I’m looking at you, Mississippi. I also don’t want to spend any time with people that fly it off their pick’em’up trucks or in front of their homes. And I sure wouldn’t do business with anyone flying one at their business. People have a right to be jerks. But it doesn’t require me to deal with them.
In my opinion, the argument that the Confederate flag is part of our history and should be respected is hogwash. There are many parts of our history that we should be smart enough to be ashamed of and not celebrate. And there’s a great deal of debate how significant a part of our history that flag was. I wasn’t there so I don’t know. But what I do know is that for millions of people, that flag stands for racism. It means the bearer thereof is racist. I doubt that’s the case 100 percent of the time, but I’d rather not wear or display something that’s widely interpreted as racist.
To catch up: The Confederate flag should not be on any state property. But if private citizens want to wave it, they should feel free as long as they know they message their conveying and then also understand that a large percentage of America will want nothing to do with them.
But let’s not play a game of revisionist history, OK? Sometimes too far is just too damn far. And some people went too far.
The Dukes of Hazzard? Really, TV Land? You pulled the Dukes of Hazzard because there’s a Confederate flag on the General Lee? That’s just too far. The Dukes of Hazzard was one of a handful of shows I grew up being forced to watch that I didn’t hate.
Sure, it took place in Georgia, the epicenter of racism. But the show itself wasn’t racist. In fact, it held some pretty good morals. We need more shows like it today. And yes, the Confederate flag’s prominence in the show is unfortunate 30 years later. But it’s not reason enough to pull the show. You went too far, TV Land.
Speaking of going too far, the other side of this so-called debate goes too far, too. I’ve seen some insane examples of the lunatic fringe on the gay-rights side of things, too. Images depicting Jesus as a homosexual, for example. A proposal to replace the American flag with a cross-breed of the gay pride flag. And those examples have turned a lot of would-be supporters off from the gay rights movement.
Again, those who spread such images have a right to do so. The First Amendment allows them that. But as is often the case when people claim First Amendment rights, I’d suggest they look four amendments down and find their “right to be silent.”
But on the eve of our 239th birthday, I would suggest that’s one of the great things about our nation: We have a right to be absolute jerks. And we also have a right not to deal those we find to be jerks. It would seem that people are fully exercising those rights today.
Now enough with the lecture. Let’s get out there and enjoy the weekend.
+Scott Leffler proudly displayed the rainbow flag on his Facebook profile picture for about 24 hours before getting bored with it. Then he watched Dukes of Hazzard and sang along to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.