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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Pooby Stars & Bars at Bluegrass Festivals (55* d) RE: Stars & Bars at Bluegrass Festivals 07 May 04


The other day you wrote "I see nothing wrong with remembering a group of fighting men who were defending their country in an illegal war (they had the right under the constitution to secede)."

Bad news, my man: There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that assures the right of states to secede. You may be thinking of the passage in the Declaration of Independence about "the right of the people to alter or abolish" the established government, but the DoI has no force of law -- now, then or ever.

I might be inclined to grant the point about an "illegal" war, but would argue about who gets the rap for the illegality. (Try looking at the provision in the Constitution about treason, for starters.) The Constitution makes several references to states being bound together as a union, and the obligation of states to honor and support that union. Setting off a cannon barrage in the direction of a U.S. military installation doesn't seem to qualify as supporting the union. The U.S. government, even prior to the Civil War, had no problem suppressing insurrections (Whiskey Rebellion, etc.) so when a member state commits an act of aggression against the constitutionally established central government, why should responding in force be objectionable, or even surprising?

And was the war about states' rights (as opposed to slavery)? Perhaps, but let's not forget that one of the rights that the Southern states were fighting to protect and preserve was the right of people to own and subjugate other people.

Honoring the heroism of soldiers fighting for a cause is nothing new (or old). To this day people are trying to figure out how to "support our troops" even while objecting passionately to the war in which they're being asked to fight. Chances are that even in the Civil War, as with more recent conflicts, the soldiers were not always given a complete picture (by their military and political superiors) of what the hell they were fighting for.

A few bottom lines:

-- Some people (not least of which, blacks) find the CSA battle flag highly objectionable. What's so hard about respecting other people's feelings? I'm not talking about political correctness (which drives me crazy). It's just, like I said, a matter of respect for someone else's feelings. (As someone else wrote, the CSA battle flag is to blacks as the swastika is to Jews.) There are ways of honoring traditions without making others feel violated and re-victimized in the process.

-- History, particularly the history of periods of conflict, is usually written by the winners. The war was fought 150 years ago, and the South lost -- get over it.

Somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line

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