Wondering Whatever Happened To…For November 3

Wondering whatever happened to California Congressman Gary Condit while pondering…

What If There Wasn’t Any Grits? – Pointing out the ignorance of some when it comes to the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag, a Tupelo, MS man is in jail facing a potential life sentence for using an explosive device against the retail outlet Walmart.

According to reports from local papers, Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said that 61-year old Marshall Leonard threatened the megastore a few days ago when he wrote on the local paper’s Facebook page, “Journal corporate, you are on final warning. You are part of the problem. As a result of this, y’all (sic) are going down, along with Walmart, WTVA (a local television station), Reed’s department store and all the rest of the anti-American crooks. I’m not kidding. No messing around anymore!”

While some might have thought this to be the ravings of a lunatic, this was a lunatic who decided to take action. On Sunday morning at about 1:30AM, Leonard allegedly drove his car to the local Walmart in question, lit a package on fire and threw it in the entryway of the store. An employee standing nearby was told by Leonard, “You better run,” and, as the employee did, a small explosion went off that didn’t cause much damage to the store.

So what was Leonard’s problem with Walmart? The factor that the superstore had quit selling the Confederate Battle Flag. Leonard is an outspoken opponent of current legislation, Initiative 55, which would remove the Battle Flag from the current Mississippi state flag permanently. Leonard doesn’t believe the flag to have any racial or slavery overtones (despite the statement in the documents of secession by the state of Mississippi in 1861 stating, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world.”) and has been tossed out of a city council hearing on the subject (while draped in a Battle Flag).

The police didn’t have to investigate too deep to find Leonard either. Leonard’s vehicle, with a flagpole sticking through the roof that displays the Battle Flag while he drives, ran a red light at 2AM after allegedly tossing the explosive device into the Walmart. Police stopped Leonard and, as their radios crackled with news of the bombing, Chief Aguirre said, “We quickly figured out we needed to hang on to this suspect.”

Why Should I Be Educated If I’m In Heaven? – In another entry into the idiocy of the South, parents of nine Texas children are suing the state over their home-schooling techniques. Texas laws are quite permissive regarding what home-schooled students have to learn and one family, the McIntyre family of El Paso, TX, decided they didn’t need to have a curriculum, any oversight from local officials and didn’t have to take any of the tests that children in public and private schools had to take. Why? Why waste time on education when the Second Coming is upon us.

The situation came to light after the 17-year old daughter of the family ran away from home and, upon being placed in the foster system and in a real school, couldn’t keep up with her peers (seniors). She was placed in a ninth-grade class and was even struggling to keep up at that pace. Further investigation by authorities through other family members found that not only was there any “home schooling” going on, but the parents were flaunting the results.

According to Tracy McIntyre, the twin brother of Michael, the other children were “never reading, working on math problems, using computers or doing much of anything educational.” The reason that Tracy gave for this was Michael telling him that the children’s learning was unnecessary because “they were going to be raptured.”

The El Paso school district began to investigate further, at which time the McIntyre’s sued them for “oppressing their right to not educate their children.” In a deeply Republican state, the family called the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court “anti-Christian” and claimed that the oversight by the El Paso school system is “a startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.” While these claims may sound as ludicrous as they look, there is a chance that they might have some effect; the current head of the Texas Board of Education is a Christian homeschooler and Governor Greg Abbott is staunchly behind the homeschooling system, which in many conservative homeschooling cases lacks any knowledge of sciences, technology or mathematics and instead delves into Bible-based explanations of subjects.

But The Slurpee Machine Is Always Spotless! – We already know that there is a great deal of waste in the U. S. government and, in particular, in military spending. But a $43 million gas station?

In a recent report from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the building of a compressed natural gas station cost an alleged $43 million, including $30 million in overhead costs (operational expenses) in a country where few vehicles exist and those that do don’t run on natural gas. Not only was this station highly expensive (a similar station in Pakistan was built for $500,000), but there was no examinations of whether building the station was feasible or not ever performed or ever deemed necessary.

“One of the most troubling aspects of this project is that the Department of Defense claims that it is unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any other questions concerning its planning, implementation or outcome,” Sopko stated to the Washington Post. The reason? The department that was in charge of building the station, the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (with an $800 million budget), was closed six months ago and the Pentagon has no comment on its activities.

Simple investigation by Sopko questioned the legitimacy of building the station. With a non-viable market for natural gas vehicles, Afghanis would have to convert their vehicles to the fuel. The cost of such a conversion is around $700. The problem there is that the average Afghani wages for a year are $690.

Sopko says he will continue to investigate the situation but, without cooperation from the Pentagon, it is unlikely he will find any reasons for the wasteful spending.

The Inmates Running the Asylum, Part 420 – The candidates for President on the Republican Party ticket have been loudly complaining about how the three debates they have taken part in (especially the last one on cable station CNBC) have been conducted, despite the first debate being conducted on their home ground of Fox News and a second debate on CNN considered fairly decent. Now, instead of allowing for a central group to set the standards for debates – say, perhaps, their own Republican National Committee – the candidates want to set the rules that future debates will be held under until the party’s convention next summer.

GOP candidates have floated such ideas as keeping the room at 67 degrees, splitting the 14 remaining candidates into two randomly picked groups of seven and asking them the same questions and setting strict time limits on the proceedings. It is expected that some of the candidates have already coalesced behind some framework of demands for the forthcoming debates (probably those after their November 10 scheduled debate), but one candidate thinks he can get more through his negotiations (take a wild guess).

Representatives for billionaire Donald Trump, who has seen his numbers of late slide as Dr. Ben Carson has slowly gained traction, are currently refusing to sign any letter of demands alongside the other candidates, believing that through his own force of will he can get more. According to the New York Times, however, Trump is actually hurting the cause because the candidates only have power if they are united. If they are fragmented or are asking for far too much from debate organizers, then the possibility of the networks, the RNC or even the candidates canceling a debate comes into play.

First they couldn’t find a Speaker for the House of Representatives, now they can’t determine a debate format – it truly is the inmates running the asylum.

Now to answer the question…what happened to California Congressman Gary Condit?

Through the 1990s, Gary Condit was a rising star in the Democratic Party. A congressman from California, Condit looked the part of the perfect representative from the Golden State, with a pearly smile and ambitions of even bigger things in his future. The discovery that he was having an affair in 2001 with an intern by the name of Chandra Levy effectively derailed his burgeoning political career.

The discovery of the affair only came about after Levy disappeared in May 2001 and Condit, who vehemently accused then-President Bill Clinton of illicit activities with intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, for some time was considered a suspect in her disappearance (in 2010, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador was convicted in Levy’s disappearance and murder). It was enough to derail his career; in 2002, Condit was defeated for reelection in the 18th District in California and, instead of going back home, moved to Arizona.

In Arizona, Condit opened up an ice cream store franchise that failed and in which he is currently embroiled in litigation over. His son, Chad, is attempting to follow in his father’s footsteps (hopefully not literally) in running for Congress in California’s 10th District. Condit, at 67, has called it a career in politics, now serving as the president of the Phoenix Institute of Desert Agriculture, a non-profit group created in 2011 with offices strangely located in San Diego, CA, that doesn’t list any responsible owners or operators.

It Works Both Ways in “Black Lives Matter,” But Not In Every Other Case

Since the shooting of Houston, TX, Deputy Darren Goforth, allegedly by Shannon Miles and for some unknown reason(s), the rhetoric on both sides has ramped up drastically. Harris County, TX, Sheriff Ron Hickman, Goforth’s boss, stated it plainly on CNN when he said, “This rhetoric has gotten out of control. We’ve heard ‘Black lives matter,’ ‘All lives matter.’ Well, cops’ lives matter, too. So why don’t we just drop the qualifier, and just say ‘Lives matter,’ and take that to the bank?”

While Sheriff Hickman’s comments might be construed as not being acceptable (and, as a member of law enforcement, personal feelings aren’t supposed to be a part of the job), it comes on the heels of a “Black Lives Matter” protest in Minneapolis, MN, this weekend that were just as reprehensible. Although the particular “Black Lives Matter” group was offered a booth at the Minnesota State Fair, the organizers refused that opportunity to connect with people and instead decided to hold their protests on the streets in front of the fairgrounds. This allowed the protesters to say things such as “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” All of this supposedly helpful bullshit comes on the heels of the Virginia shooting of two newspaper reporters by a former coworker, who supposedly was a homosexual male and supported the politics of President Barack Obama.

There is so much that is wrong in the current climate of discussion that it is difficult for anyone to wrap their heads around the subject. One of the main issues, however, is that no one wants to admit that the prescribed norms work both ways and should be applied equally to both sides. With that application, the outcome isn’t the same in every case, however.

The Texas case is tragic in that, on the surface, it does seem to be spawned by the anti-law enforcement sentiment that has festered throughout at least 2015 if not for the past 100 years itself. Lacking any information from the authorities, we are only left with conjecture as to why Miles decided on Friday night to cold-bloodedly gun down Goforth as he filled his squad car with gas. The same thing was seen in December 2014, when two New York City police officers were senselessly executed by another black man (who subsequently committed suicide), supposedly in response to the decision by grand juries in Missouri and New York not to indict police officers in the deaths of two black men.

In the Texas case, we could start with not escalating the situation any further than it already has been. Sheriff Hickman didn’t need to step in front of the microphones outside his office and toss gasoline on the fire by implying that the “Black Lives Matter” movement had something to do with the execution of his officer. He could have just as easily said, “We currently have no information on any motive or reason for my officer’s shooting.” Instead, he chose that moment to inflame conditions even more than they might have been. In a volatile state such as Texas, where very widely divergent viewpoints often don’t meet with genteel outcomes, it is something he should have thought about.

That doesn’t let the “Black Lives Matter” protestors off the hook, though. To actually chant for the execution of police officers – which has also been alleged in several other protest marches throughout the United States during “Black Lives Matter” events, among other violent acts – is downright wrong if not borderline criminal. If an individual can be charged with “voicing a threat” against another person, then what is the charge that should be put on those whose basic statement is “kill a cop?” (Let’s not get this wrong, I do believe in freedom of speech. That’s why I don’t have a problem with Body Count’s “Cop Killer” (an artistic statement) but do have an issue with this situation).

Some of the spokespeople for the “Black Lives Matter” organization have come out and said not to paint the organization with a broad brush for the actions of one person or one part of the group. Law enforcement and police unions have said virtually the same thing – “Don’t judge us all due to the actions of one bad cop” (we’ll leave alone for the moment the systemic incidences of police abuse of power for now over the years). The answer is that it works both ways and for both groups, but neither wants to admit it.

Where it doesn’t work is in the senseless Virginia murders of reporter Allison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. While there has been plenty of information that has come out regarding Vester Flanagan – including that he went to the voting booth in 2012 as an Obama supporter to the point of wearing a pin and advocating in line for him (we know this because this is one of the litany of things that WDBJ management reprimanded him for while he worked there) and that he was gay, among other much more important things such as his emotional volatility in the workplace – the case has slowly slipped into the background because Flanagan killed himself and there will be no charges brought (unlike the Texas case). What is ridiculous is some of the statements over social media that try to show that it should go both ways and, in this case, it shouldn’t.

Some on social media have advocated for the “banning” of the rainbow flag that has become the banner of the LGBT community (and was seen on many a Facebook profile following the U. S. Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage a right), positing that it was the banner of “hatred” much like which happened when Dylan Roof used the Confederate Banner Flag as his “reason” for executing nine people in a Charleston, SC church. They also have demanded contrition from President Obama because one of his supporters – somehow like the illegal immigrant in San Francisco who killed a woman and, according to anti-Obama people, LOVED Obama – gunned down two people.

Unlike the “Black Lives Matter” situation where a) both sides could tone down the rhetoric and b) both sides should chastise their not-as-eloquent members, these accusations laid down in the Virginia case are completely ludicrous. First off, there is no indication that Flanagan’s sexuality was the hell-bent reason behind his decision to kill Parker and Ward. An argument can be raised that Flanagan was looking to do the same thing as Roof – incite a “race war” (Flanagan’s manifesto talked about how Roof’s actions pushed him to commit his crime) – and it should be discussed that Flanagan and Roof are cut from the same cloth. That’s about the point where the similarities end, however.

To suggest that the rainbow banner used by the LGBT community is a “flag of hatred” (never has been shown to be) like the Confederate Battle Flag (plenty of examples where it has been used as such) is about the most illogical thing there is…it’s called an association fallacy, one that basically says because you did one thing one time for one situation, you should always do that when similar situations arise. Thus, those that are frothing at the mouth to ban the rainbow flag merely show their idiocy rather than any practice of rational thought.

Situations such as Virginia and Texas – and even the issues between law enforcement and the communities they are supposed to protect (and who knows how many other aspects of society) – have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. In every case, both sides should be held to the same burdens of representation and held to a certain criteria that is used against both schools of thought equally. You cannot hold one to a separate, higher standard without applying the same principles on the opposition. After exercising this mantra, however, the answer aren’t always going to come out the same way every time.

Should I REALLY Send That Tweet?

If you haven’t kept up with the news of late (and admittedly it isn’t Earth-shattering news), ESPN baseball analyst and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is currently under suspension from “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” over some things that he posted over his personal Twitter account. In one meme (and really, can we cut the usage of memes? If you can’t say it yourself, don’t use a supposedly funny picture to do it) Schilling compared radical Islamic terrorists to the Nazi Party of Germany in the 1930s; in another, he details what each component of the Confederate Battle Flag represents, apparently as a method of making it palatable for others. For posting those things, Schilling was removed from his seat covering the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, and it is possible that he may lose his job over the situation.

Schilling isn’t alone in being caught in this situation. Three years ago, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones unknowingly responded “want to race me” in a Tweet to former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand. The problem? LeGrand was paralyzed in 2010 in an on-field incident (she also backhanded him by implying he had a concussion, something that is plaguing organized football even today). In January, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal used her Twitter account to imply that she would use her influence as a politician to thwart “white privilege.” Then there is the entertaining, infuriating buffoon known as Donald Trump who, in his pursuit (?) of being the next President of the United States, seems to at least once an hour issue a social media missive that probably should have been reconsidered. And we’re barely scratching the surface, folks…there’s a litany of things like this.

It seems as though athletes and celebrities fall into this pit way too often. In an attempt to either look intelligent, hip or funny, the people that are famous (or infamous) for what they do post items on social media that get them into hot water with most importantly their employers but also their sponsors, charitable organizations and even advocacy groups they work to support. It leaves many wondering what these people are thinking of when they get on their particular social media of choice.

Social media has definitely changed the way that the world interacts. As little as 20 years ago, it was difficult to instantly contact someone on the other side of the globe in real time. Even ten years ago, such things as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn were in their infancy (Twitter wasn’t created until 2006, believe it or not) while MySpace was dominating the world. At that time, we hadn’t even heard of such things as Instagram, Tumblr and Foursquare. All of these social media outlets, however, have had their time in the spotlight due to somebody doing something stupid while on the computer.

There are definitely some rules that a person should implement before they decide if they should go ahead with a post, Tweet or Instagram picture. If celebrities, politicians and other important people used these – and the Everyday Joe should consider it also – then we could avoid the embarrassment that sometimes appears each time a brainless dolt who has millions of admirers does something they shouldn’t have done on the internet.

1. Does This Picture (Meme)…? – There are many considerations that come into play when it comes to pictures (and memes used by people) posted on Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat (while the photos and videos delete, they can be captured for the short period they are online and they are a permanent part of the Snapchat servers) and they all begin with some form of “Does this picture…” Let’s list off a couple here:

A) Does this picture present me in a bad light? Perhaps the photo of you doing a keg stand at that college football tailgate party isn’t the best one you want to use as your Facebook account profile picture. Employers have started searching the Facebook and Twitter rolls when people apply for jobs and, especially in the case of those just leaving college or even already in the workforce but looking for new employment, the photos and memes you present on social media is going to be something that reflects on you (unless your name is John Smith, then you might be able to get a flyer).

B) Is this a picture of some illegal or illicit activity? Just ask former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner about how a picture he thought he was sending to someone privately exploded in his face. When you are committing an illicit act (or even an illegal one), it is probably not a good idea to trumpet it over the internet. Even though Weiner’s activity was a private one, even a private activity or conversation can come back to bite you in the ass.

2. Would I Say This (Post This Picture) In Public? – This is a huge one that many overlook when they get on social media. Just because you have some semblance of anonymity on the internet (hey, people don’t know you, you’re just a pixelated page in front of them and, in some cases, you can use an alias!), it is not a license to say whatever you think without regard for common decency. Many may decry this as being “too-PC” but in reality it comes from something that we used to have to deal with on a daily basis, being a halfway decent person.

My rules regarding this part are twofold:

A) Would I say what I am about to say to my mother? Hey, Mom is always a good idea to fall back on when it comes to considering whether something you’re about to do or say should be broadcast. In some cases, Mom’s always been proud of what I’ve done, but there’s been those times when Mom washed my mouth out with soap for the things I said (literally). Although I like to think my Mom is pretty hip, she’s still older and there is a modicum of decorum that has to be upheld.

B) Would I say what I am about to say in a bar? Stick with me on this one. If I am sitting in a bar having some drinks, there are usually several conversations between its patrons. If something that I am going to say is going to push one of those patrons to punch me in the mouth for saying it, I probably shouldn’t be broadcasting it over the internet. While some people find enjoyment in “stirring the shit,” if you do it too often, you’re going to catch that fist in the jaw.

3. Am I Doing This Too Soon? – Sometimes people look to be first with a post (or a picture, even) rather than thinking about just what they are doing or saying. For myself, I’ve learned in some circumstances to use the “24-Hour Rule” when it comes to posting. The “24-Hour Rule” is simple enough:  if I still feel the same way about a situation 24 hours later, then I’ll go ahead with a post or comment regarding an issue. Likewise, if I feel that the photo I’ve taken while I MIGHT be doing something questionable is a good one, then I’ll go about putting it on the internet. Through using the “24-Hour Rule,” there are many circumstances that could be avoided by celebrities and, well, everyone.

And finally perhaps the most important point…

4. Is What I Am Saying True? – This is more in tune with commenting regarding certain posts, putting up memes and situations such as that rather than pictures. There is already enough falsehood on the internet. Hell, there are sites that have sprung up, like Snopes.com or PolitiFact.com, that will let you know whether that anecdote or photograph is true or not. Use them! I personally don’t like when someone attempts to use a lie to get their point across as it completely discredits them in that arguments and future discussions.

Through usage of some or all of these thoughts, everyone – not just celebrities, politicians and other notable figures – can avoid getting entangled in such situation on social media. While the internet is a great place for the exchange of ideas, it doesn’t mean that you have to hit “Send” or “Post” for everything that you do online. If everyone implemented these ideas, it would give the mainstream media less to talk about; perhaps we would then get some “real” news on the channels rather than celebrity gossip.

(Thinking)…Nah, that’ll never happen!

A Correct Move Taken Too Far

StoneMountain

It may seem like it was eons ago, but in reality it has been exactly one month. On the night of June 17, a young man named Dylann Roof strolled into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for evening bible services. He was joined by ten black parishioners, including the senior pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, as they enjoyed their evening of fellowship and worship with each other. As the bible study came to a close, Roof allegedly pulled a Glock 41 .45 caliber handgun and opened fire. After five reloads, nine of the parishioners laid dead; the tenth was spared by Roof allegedly so that person could tell the story of Roof’s attack.

Law enforcement quickly caught Roof in North Carolina the next morning and extradited him back to the quaint Southern city by the Atlantic Ocean, resplendent with its Spanish moss hanging from the trees, palmetto trees swaying in the wind off the beaches and seeped in the history of not only the United States but of the Confederate States of America (Fort Sumter was the site of the first shots of the Civil War in 1861). Further investigation, however, revealed an ugly truth that many have turned their heads to over the years. Roof, through leaving his one victim alive in the church (it is reported he told her he wanted to start a “race war”) and through a manifesto on a website allegedly his that featured photographs of him posing with the Confederate Battle Flag as well as standing on  the U. S. flag while spitting on it, brought to light the horrific factor that a relic of the South had now been corrupted into something viewed with hatred by many U. S. citizens.

Before we go on, we must establish the history. The Battle Flag was in no stretch the official flag of the CSA. There were three different flags that were tried by the government, but all bore too much of a resemblance to the U. S. flag for soldiers from either side to be able to differentiate between the two in the heat of battle. Thus, the Battle Flag – most notably carried by General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia but also carried by other Confederate factions – was used so troops could see where their side of the battle was located.

Following the end of the Civil War, the Battle Flag’s usage drifted off, supposedly into history. That would take a turn, however, when Southern Democrats, stifling under the boot heels of the Reconstruction period and the stiff penalties that were imposed by the victorious North and the Republican Party, formed the racially motivated Ku Klux Klan and resurrected the banner, in essence, as their battle flag. While also carrying U. S. flags in several marches through the early part of the 20th century (including a particularly noteworthy march through Washington, D.C.), the Battle Flag was more commonly used in the South along with the Battle Flag.

In 1894 the Battle Flag was incorporated into the state flag of Mississippi, where it flew until 1906 when a legal error failed to give the state either an official flag or a coat of arms. That banner was the de facto flag of the state until 2001, when it was officially put back into use for a short period before being replaced. It was also used in the flag of Georgia beginning in 1956 when the Georgia General Assembly used a design from a man named John Sammons Bell, who supported segregation across not only the Palmetto State but also the former Confederacy. That flag flew until 2001, when it was removed.

In 1961 the South Carolina General Assembly added the Battle Flag to the flagpole under the U. S. and South Carolina flags to “commemorate” the 100th anniversary of the Civil War, but it was also put there as a protest at the ever growing movement for civil rights among minorities, especially blacks, across the South and the remainder of the country. Those flags would all fly together until 2000, when the Confederate Battle Flag was moved from atop the South Carolina State House to a Confederate memorial on the State House grounds.

Everyone up to speed? Good…

Which brings us to last month and its aftermath. Instead of perhaps examining the issues that were at the forefront of the horrendous act – mental health, drug abuse or misuse and gun availability – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley decided to use the moment (especially after the photos surfaced of Roof and the Confederate Battle Flag and his manifesto of white supremacy) to call for the Battle Flag’s removal from the State House grounds.

Really, what politician in his right mind had a chance in standing against that?

Not to say there weren’t those that tried, but the vote to remove the Battle Flag (which needed two-thirds of the House and the Senate) rocketed through the political process. Six days ago, amid a somber ceremony that was deserving of a memento of history and a crowd that thought they were at a British soccer match, the Confederate Battle Flag came down and was moved to a museum.

While many may cry that the Battle Flag is a part of their “heritage,” it isn’t exactly the heritage that you would like to remember. First off, the “heritage” is that of a treasonous act – secession from the United States – that, if performed nowadays, would have many screaming for the perpetrators to be shot on site. Secondly, the Battle Flag – despite its representation as the flag that thousands of Southern soldiers fought for – had been utterly corrupted by first the Southern Democrats, then the KKK and today by white supremacists. Germany has a heritage, too…but they choose not to fly the Nazi Party flag, which was once the official German flag, because of the baggage it has entailed in its existence. The removal of the flag from the South Carolina State House – and other official government buildings across the South – was long overdue and right in its execution.

Here’s where it might get interesting for some of you.

Since the removal of the Battle Flag in South Carolina, there have been other actions that are dubious at best. The television show The Dukes of Hazzard was removed from syndicated broadcasting because the Dodge Charger featured on the show and driven by the Duke boys, the General Lee, featured a Confederate Battle Flag ironically atop the roof. Video games were removed from the Apple Store because the games featured the flag during gameplay. This would prove to only be the tip of the iceberg, however.

There are movements across several Southern states to remove Confederate monuments from their locations, none probably more ludicrous than the idea to remove the carvings of General “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Lee from a mountainside in Stone Mountain, GA. Add into the fray movements to rename schools, other buildings and even streets that have ties with a Confederate history and it does reach the point of going too far.

The Civil War was the darkest period in U. S. history and there are some pretty bleak things that have been done in the name of this country. While the Battle Flag might have been unfairly blemished since that time, its removal was appropriate considering what it inspired in the South Carolina massacre. Taking that tragedy and using it any further, however, is wrong because it is an attempt to whitewash the historical significance of an event.

Rather than trying to act as if those four bleak years from 1861-1865 didn’t exist, why not demonstrate how far we as U. S. citizens have come? Even a school field trip from Robert E. Lee Middle School (literally tens across the U. S.) can learn about the man, the fact that he was a highly decorated graduate of West Point that battled for the Union in the Mexican-American War of 1846 and in Texas protecting U. S. citizens from Indian attacks in the early 1850s before defending his home of Virginia while seeing Confederate monuments and battlefields.

Just because one part of history has been tarnished is no reason to remove all of it from existence. It also isn’t a reason to remove it from entertainment or educational purposes. While the Confederate Battle Flag has reached the place it should have been many years ago – in a museum case – that’s not a reason to completely strip it from U. S. history.