It’s been a fairly quiet year so far in the world of Confederate heritage, especially when it comes to our favorite organization, the Virginia Flaggers. They’ve done nothing of consequence this year that deserves notice. Recently, however, that changed a bit in two instances.
Y’all recall Raymond Agnor, the fellow who allowed the Flaggers to put up a flag on his land northeast of Lexington, Virginia, only to say that he did not want blacks on his property?
(Thus posing something of a problem for Virginia Flagger Karen Cooper, who’s been rather quiet herself lately … )
Of course, the Virginia Flaggers would never dishonor the Confederate flag by associating it with such a vile creature, right? Heritage, not hate, remember? Restore the honor and all that?
Just as important, however, is the declaration of Virginia Flagger spokesperson Connie Chastain that the Confederate flag means whatever someone wants it to mean. “It’s not a hate flag,” she complained. “Hate is an attitude that resides in the mind of the person viewing or considering the flag, just as honor does.” So, in short, one can see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate, racism, prejudice, and intolerance just as much as one can see it as a symbol of home and honor. What you see depends on where you stand.
I can agree with that.
Chastain struggled to regain her balance once she realized that she had put her foot in her mouth. “The feeling of honor I referred to resides in the person, as it is a human emotion” she explained in an effort at clarification. “But the aspect of being an honorable object which is attached to the flag is not a human emotion; it was an attribute imbued to the flag for all time by the men who carried in into battle when they fought to defend families, homes and communities from a barbaric army of invasion.” Good try. But, by Chastain’s own reasoning, the flag was also imbued with the attributes of racism, hatred, intolerance, and prejudice by the people who carried it to protest equality and civil rights … and that may be for all time as well.
The Confederate flag is not inherently anything. People decide what it means to them. Connie Chastain does not get to decide what it should mean to you, or what it means, period. Even she knows better. As she recently put it, “Many people see the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery? Many people don’t see it as a symbol of slavery. Why should only one viewpoint dominate or be considered legitimate?”
In short, there are multiple legitimate viewpoints. Thanks for realizing that, Connie.
With friends like Raymond Agnor and Connie Chastain, Confederate heritage is in trouble.