Below is a poll asking you to choose from one of four options for the display of the Third National Confederate flag outside “The Last Capital of the Confederacy” at Danville, Virginia. The first option keeps things they way they were at the beginning of this week, with flying the Third National flag. The second adds a second flagpole on which the US national colors will fly, in the superior position, but it will keep the Third National flag flying. The third suggests that the Third National be flown outside upon special occasions when the museum is featuring Confederate history, but that otherwise it will not be flown. The fourth simply removes the Third National flag from flying outside, period.
As for my willingness to see the Third National flag fly at this location, let me be clear: it is a specific flag that would be flown in a specific historical context in an appropriate manner. Often we hear that the Confederate battle flag and especially the CSA navy jack/Army of Tennessee flag are inappropriate because of their use by white supremacist groups starting in the twentieth century. For example, I think the Virginia Flaggers err when they fly the CSA navy jack/Army of Tennessee flag as a salute to the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia. Not only do they fly a flag with no context, but the flag they fly also violates any sort of historical context.
Yes, I know what they’ll say. Do you know what I say?
That’s what you call being historically appropriate (well, the movie has so many other problems, including historical accuracy, but you know what I mean). After all, it’s not history, but heritage, with these folks, and we know that it’s a heritage of hate, judging from the bitterness spewed by their spokespeople and supporters.
The Third National flag does not carry with it the same modern-day white supremacist connotations as do the CSA navy jack and the Army of Tennessee flag, followed by the Army of Northern Virginia flag (the Flaggers have managed to devalue that flag’s meaning by using it interchangeably with its more problematic brethren). That doesn’t mean that it didn’t stand for a republic explicitly founded upon the cornerstone of human inequality and enslavement … although one could also argue that if African Americans were going to fight openly for the Confederacy as actual soldiers, they would have fought under the Third National flag. That suggests that fans of the notion of black Confederate soldiers and a rainbow Confederacy ought to use that flag to display a meaningful commitment to what they say they believe.
Don’t hold your breath, however.