Saturday, March 10, 2007

My expectations of the general public continue to decline, until I look in the mirror

If you don't believe that voters elect the candidates they deserve, consider that these have a market. Via MariaMaria.

In the interest of full disclosure, growing up in Tyler I had a Confederate battle flag hanging over my bed until I left home to go to college at 18. The last time I was home it was still hanging in my father's garage. As I (half) joked with Maria in the comments, I've got relatives for whom these would probably make a good gag gift. What can I say? In the big picture, like a lot of multi-generation Texan families, a lot of my family came to Texas fleeing union occupation after the Civil War.

That was true of everybody I knew growing up. The road from the Deep South into Texas literally led directly through Tyler and Smith County, and once they got to East Texas' Piney Woods, many of them traveled no farther. One of my best friends in junior high and high school, Waterson Calhoun, was John C. Calhoun's great-great grandson, if I remember correctly. (Wat's father was county judge in Smith county for many years, and I should add that his mother is a gracious, joyful and lovely woman.)

That said, while I don't condone the use of Confederate symbology, neither do I automatically associate its use today in the South with racial hatred. (Whether it's smart or useful or necessary or unproductively provocative are all different questions than racist intent.) Many people are too quick to judge complicated historical situations and cultural associations.

There was a time I would have thought this was funny. If I'm 100% honest, part of me, I guess, still does:


Catonya said...

too funny!

Myst0nia said...

When my son was about 10 he got interested in Civil War reenactment. For years he wore a t-shirt with a Confederate flag and the caption "Heritage, Not Hate".

Devil Yack said...

My high school mascot in NorthEast Texas was the Rebels. The cheerleaders ran up and down the sideline with a big Confederate flag. Sometimes the girl that carried it was black.

At least four of my great, great grandfathers fought on the Rebel side during the Civil War and one was killed during it.

Lots of people hold up that flag as a way of reinforcing their heritage. Others claim it's a remnant of a hateful, evil regime. I think both sides have a point.