Archive for June, 2015

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am from the south. The south had a tradition of honor, hard work, and of people looking out for each other, at least that is what I was taught growing up.
I have said before that as proud as I am of my country, I am definitely not proud of the fact that my country was a slave nation. By “my country” here, I am talking about the United States of America, not the Confederate States of America. The USA was founded in 1776. There were slaves before that, but the country itself did not exist until 1776, so I’ll start then. For the next 85 years, though, the Confederate States of Amerca still did not exist, but the USA was a slave nation for that entire time. The cross of slavery is not the South’s, alone, to bear. There were slaves in the North before, during and, yes, even after the Civil War.
A couple of quick points here about the Civil War and slavery:
1. The war was not about slavery. Yeah, that depends on your perspective, if you are honest about this. True, the war was primarily about “states’ rights”, the economy of the times, and whether or not the states had the legal authority to secede from the union. But, in truth, that economy was based on slavery, and one of the “states’ rights” that was in question was definitely slavery.
2. As mentioned before, there were slaves in the North before, during and after the war.
3. The Emancipation Proclamation was great politics, but not worth the paper it was written on from a “legal” perspective. The whole premise of the south’s case was their right to secede. If, as they contended, they were no longer part of the USA, then the president of the USA had no authority over them, any more than he would over any other sovereign nation. He could not free the slaves in, French Guinea, for example, and, by the same logic, he could not free the slaves in the CSA. By the way, he did have the authority to free the slaves in the north, but the proclamation did not do that. Really. Read it sometime.
With those points out of the way now, let’s talk about the flag. It doesn’t matter if it is really the flag of the Confederates States of America, or the Army of Northern Virginia (which it is), when someone sees this flag they think “Confederate Flag”, or “Rebel Flag” as we called it when I was a kid.
I personally think that the flag had nothing to do with what happened in Charleston, South Carolina recently. An evil, racist, psychopath killed nine innocent people in church and since has been shown in pictures with the flag. He has also been shown with the Apartheid flag of South Africa and other symbols. The symbols more than likely mean something to him, but they did not cause the shootings.
I feel that people calling for the flag to come down from state buildings is a normal reaction, and I think stores banning sales of the flag is an over-reaction. Individuals should have the right to fly that flag if they wish to and communities should have the right to ban it from being flown over governmental buildings if they so vote.
Let me tell you a personal story.
Back in 1993, the Daughters of the Confederacy, a group of ladies who do charitable work, such as setting up scholarships for kids who could otherwise ill afford to go to school, were applying for renewal of the copyright on their logo. This group had formed not long after the Civil War ended, so had been around for quite a while. They did a lot of good work, and had never had any trouble renewing their logo’s copyright.
Senator Carol Moseley Braun, a black female Senator from Illinois, was the only problem with them getting their “rubber stamp” this time, but problem she was. She stood on the floor of the Senate and railed against the logo because it contained the confederate flag.
She threatened to filibuster to stop the approval, and stirred up enough commotion to definitely make it a problem. See, voting to “rubber stamp” the approval without any fanfare was one thing, but now these same Senators would have to actually vote for the confederate flag logo after all this publicity. Ms Moseley Braun succeeded in stopping the, up until now, automatic approval. The Daughters of the Confederacy did not get their logo renewed.
I don’t know why that bothered me as much as it did, but it did. This group of kindly old ladies was, in my opinion, being “messed” with and I did not like it. I went to the local big box store and bought some red, white and blue spray paint, and some masking tape and turned the tailgate of my old Dodge truck into a rolling Rebel Flag.
My wife asked me what I was doing and I answered that I was “exercising my first amendment right to free speech” and making a political statement.
I drove that old truck around for a while like that, a couple of years or more, anyway. I got some comments about it, some good and some bad, but the flag stayed right there.
My daughter told me one day, “Dad, I know you, and I know you are not a racist. But my friends don’t know you. They see that flag on your tailgate and they assume. They assume incorrectly, but they assume, anyway.”
I realized that she was correct. Everybody has prejudices, even if they don’t think about them. When I examined my own, I realized that when I see the Rebel flag flying in someone’s yard, someone I don’t know, I, too, will make assumptions. Assumptions based on prejudiced opinions. Wrong assumptions, probably, but I will make those assumptions.
I didn’t remove that tailgate, or paint over it, but I haven’t displayed the flag since I got rid of that old truck.
But with everything that is going on now, with all the cries to tear down Confederate memorials and to rename military bases that are named for Southern officers, I’ve been thinking. I still have a pick up truck, and while Wal-Mart has said that they will no longer sell the flag, they do still sell spray paint.

truck flag 93

Vaya Con Dios,

ML

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

I see on the internet that President Obama is ordering another 450 or so troops (the number varies depending on the source) to Iraq to assist in training the Iraqis to fight against ISIS. I have one question, “Why?”

I am a veteran and I strongly support the military, but I have to ask what the hell are we doing over there? Seriously.

We have been involved in the middle east for who knows how long and what is different? If you only count the time since 9-11, we have been there for almost 15 years.
We have lost thousands of America’s best young soldiers and for what?
Except for ISIS and even more chaos, what is different there than it was in 2001?

I went to a memorial day observance at the Rockingham County Veteran’s park and one of the speakers said
“In World War II, America was at war. Now, America’s military is at war, America is at the mall”. That is exactly the problem.

I am of the “baby boomer” generation. We were the kids that were born after the troops came home from WWII. I personally have no memories of WWII but my parents and grandparents definitely did and they told us about it. The country, not just the military, was at war. I am not talking about the rationing of sugar, gasoline, and other items, though that was one way that the civilian population felt the war. No, I am talking about the attitude of the every day citizen on the street. Every body knew there “was a war on” and they operated accordingly. There was an evil in the world and we (the USA and our allies) were going to defeat it. The country was at war. The COUNTRY was at war.

We have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for 15 years, now. World War II lasted, or our involvement in it, lasted only four years. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, and by 1945 it was over. That was because THE COUNTRY was at war. Everybody (I know that is a generalization, but almost everybody) was a part of the war effort. Now, you can live your life and not feel affected by the war at all. That, as I said earlier, is the problem.

If that conflict, police action, skirmish, war, or whatever you call it, over there is important enough for us to send our best, bravest and brightest to die, then we need to get behind it and get the job done. If it is not important enough to send them, we need to get the hell out and come home.

Personally, I think that ISIS is pure evil and needs to be eradicated, exterminated, and wiped off the face of the earth. But we are not going to do that by sending 450 more trainers to Iraq.

Vaya con Dios

ML