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SCSQUARED halfBy Grant Rohr, Capistrano Beach

Once again, Jim Kempton has “nailed it,” this time on the issue of the Confederate flag. I’ve long wondered why some of my fellow Americans consider it appropriate to fly a flag that represents an enemy government of the United States of America.

I have no problem with Southerners being proud of some aspects of their heritage, such as their cuisine, music, literature and architectural heritage. But the death and destruction that resulted from the secession of Southern slave states, the formation of the Confederate States of America and the resulting Civil War (which killed about 2 percent of the population and left many more severely injured) have left wounds on our national psyche that are still with us today. One hundred and fifty years have passed since the surrender of the Confederate forces. It’s now time to put this horrible chapter in our history to rest. Thank you, Jim Kempton, for so eloquently stating what needs to be said. You are a true local treasure!

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comments (1)

  • “I’ve long wondered why some of my fellow Americans consider it appropriate to fly a flag…”

    If you don’t know, why not ask them before jumping on the politically correct bandwagon. They fly the flag as a celebration of their proud heritage, to honor their ancestors who fought honorably to defend their lands. Today, all would agree, including southerners, that preserving the union was the best outcome for all. But many seem determined to resurrect a war 150 years in the past to punish folks for celebrating who they are. The unwise dive into this orgy of hate oblivious to the consequences. Tormentors antagonize a section of the country with the result that more Confederate flags may fly as even folks previously ambivalent on the matter, raise it in defiance. What is the purpose of the vitriol? Demonstrating one’s PC bonafides, or attempting to bring healing? If the latter, then you’re doing it WRONG! Grant says “…have left wounds to our national psyche…” and “…it’s now time to put this horrible chapter in our history to rest.” Yes, wounds that he and others now reopen and won’t let rest.

    His unequivocal endorsement of Kempton’s work is a symptom of the times where truth and accuracy are sacrificed on the altar of the agenda being promoted. Kempton’s piece is poor history and poorer analysis. Contrary to his assertions, the Confederacy was not responsible for the assassination of Lincoln. JW Booth was not a Confederate soldier, did not fight under the Confederate battle flag, and was NOT under the orders of the Confederacy. When the dastardly deed was done, southerners didn’t hail him as a hero nor did they rise in mass support of his escape.
    Likewise, Rebel armies didn’t kill “so they could keep their slaves.” The vast majority of soldiers didn’t own slaves. Kempton’s sophomoric analysis fails to acknowledge that the South offered to abolish slavery if Britain and France would recognize the Confederacy.

    Kempton’s real crime, however, is equating the Confederate battle flag with the Swastika, or rising sun of WW2 Japan, or the flag of ISIS today. To ignore that the Nazis waged not just a war of aggression, but a war of extermination, or the conduct of the forces of Imperial Japan in places like China (rape of Nanking) or the Philippines, or the current depredations of ISIS, and see no difference from the Confederacy which simply wished to peaceably leave the union, is to be willingly obtuse. Such comparisons are bound to inflame, not bring healing.

    Furthermore, I see a lot of references to people of the south as hicks, hillbillies, yahoos, and bumpkins (not Kempton or Grant) all supposedly in support of the idea of racial harmony…the irony of these pejoratives appear lost on these folks.
    To actually promote peace, I support removing the Confederate battle flag from state Capitols, but no more. Let folks celebrate their ancestry in the way they choose without castigating them for events long in the past. We all, including southerners, can rejoice that the union was preserved.

    Finally, whether Kempton is a local treasure or not is a matter of opinion, but his analysis of the Confederate battle flag should be buried.

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