Sometimes I think it is best to take people at their word and then ask them to act on it.
I’m well aware that members of both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy are proud of the Confederate Battle Flag. I may not share their feelings, but they don’t have to share mine, either. I’m also aware that the SCV and other organizations declare that their philosophy is “heritage, not hate.”
So what do you think the SCV will do this Saturday if members of the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens show up as the SCV observes the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Confederacy? According to “Hatewatch,” prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Expect to see the SCV joined by members of local hate groups active in the neo-Confederate movement, in particular members of the racist League of the South, which believes that slavery is “God-ordained” and that “Anglo-Celts” should be put in charge of an independent South, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that argues that black people are “a retrograde species of humanity.”
Here’s an excellent chance for the SCV to prove to all of us that it means what it says about “heritage, not hate.”
Much the same thing can be said for the KKK’s use of the CBF. Ironically, both the KKK and the opponents of the CBF see that flag as symbolizing white supremacy. Members of the SCV and UDC claim the CBF (and the Confederacy) represents something different. I know some members of these organizations who truly despise the KKK and other hate groups, and deplore how those groups have captured the CBF for their own purposes. You would think that any association of any symbol of Confederate heritage with a hate group would be subject to being characterized as a heritage violation. Yet, as we’ve just seen in Mississippi, perhaps the SCV erred given its position by asking the state to celebrate Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest with a license plate. Surely it would be difficult to reconcile “heritage not hate” with celebrating a man who had much to do with creating a heritage of hate.
I understand that many members of the SCV and UDC are angry that the KKK has appropriated the CBF. I’m also well aware that the KKK has also used the flag of the United States at rallies. In fact, I’ve heard these arguments for years. Fair enough.
I’m just asking people to be as good as their word.