Jim Kempton Wave-Lengths
Jim Kempton

By Jim Kempton

Once again the subject of Confederate flags has stoked a divisive debate.

The arguments on both sides seem to have missed the actual function these flags filled.

Disregard for a moment the fact that these colors were used by a culture bent on continuing to enslave African Americans. Put aside that they are memorials to brave southern soldiers or that they symbolize a way of life that devastated millions of humans by making them chattel.

The larger question is this: Weren’t these flags flown by armies attacking the United States? Weren’t they raised after the bombing of a U.S. Naval port and brandished by assassins of a president? The secessionists express the reason for declaring war on the United States of America was “hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding states to the institution of slavery.”

The justification for displaying rebel ensign on state flags is, “We just want to honor the brave men who fought on the side of the South.”

Memorials to the fallen men are fine. Yet gallantry is not an automatic excuse for celebrating an unjust cause. No doubt there were brave Nazi soldiers, courageous Korean reds, valiant Viet Cong and tough Taliban fighters. Should we have special commemorations and a special flag for each of them?

Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia incorporate rebel banners used to kill “Yankees” and enslave African Americans. Are battle colors used to bomb Fort Sumter any different from Pearl Harbor? Aren’t they the same as a swastika, rising sun or crescent moon of ISIS? Hitler, Tojo, Bin Laden and Jefferson Davis do have one thing in common, they all attacked America.

Invading Rebel regiments tried desperately to reach Washington, D.C. and burn it to the ground. Wouldn’t that be classified today as terrorism? When U.S. citizens today join an opposing army and take up arms against our country, isn’t it considered treason?

My forefathers died defending the Union—and these festivals, license plates and flags celebrate men who bayoneted them. Confederates were responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 Americans. That’s more than Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Confederate flag supporters honor ancestors who were on the side that assassinated our greatest president. Wouldn’t they be described in today’s terms as traitors? Rebel armies killed loyal Americans so they could keep their slaves. In the process they tried to destroy the home of the free and the brave. Is not flaunting these symbols a declaration of defiant disrespect to the brave men who still defend us; a statement of arrogant hubris and an insult to the USA?

As with all righteous American wars, the USA and freedom triumphed. The slave owners lost. The greatest nation on earth was saved. If we are true patriots, isn’t that what we should all celebrate?

Jim Kempton is a writer and 35-year resident of San Clemente. He loves southern food, southern music, southern servicemen, southern hospitality, southern horse races, southern humor and Southern Comfort. But he sees no place for Confederate colors in our state capitals.

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comments (3)

  • Sally Benedict Jeisy Reply

    The “confederate” flag is a symbol of “Hate” … The Union fought the Civil War Against the South Aka “Confederacy” to Abolish Slavery. Yes, the Union fought for “States Rights, The(Abolishment of Slavery)…When the South Yells, “Foul”…”We fought for “States Rights” (To Keep Slavery)… and their way of life, owning African American People, Selling their husband or wife or children to other Owners…It is time this “flag” is retired to history, a dark history of our past.
    Had the “confederate” flag prevailed in War 150 years ago our African American citizens would be owned by the South…However, the South Lost…They still didn’t take kindly to this loss, from Selma to Montgomery, officers with the “confederate” flag on their helmets beat them…The Klan marched thru their neighborhoods in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, where their homes were bombed & burned, the Klan marched on and set fire to Black Church’s throughout the South and through all the devastation and death the Klan waved the “confederate” flag, a sign of cruelty and injustice, a symbol of division and separation. l Robert E. Lee, was the Commanding General of the Confederacy, the “Confederate” flag was the home state of West Virginia’s Flag, It never represented the Confederate Army in truth. When he died He did NOT want to be buried in his “confederate” uniform and did NOT want the “confederate” flag flown, just the United States of America Flag. He was a man of honor.,
    Then Today, Ken Calvert, A House Representative From California, Must Have Lost His Mind,
    Wanted an Amendment to Reverse Actions On An Interior Department Spending Bill That Had Removed the “Confederate” Flag from Federal Cemeteries and Gift Shops…A Representative
    From California Wants Federal Cemeteries and Gift Shops to Be Able to Sell “Confederate” Flags & Giftware…Is He Crazy?

    I Pray for the Nine Beautiful People who Lost Their Precious Lives in Charleston…Their Families Have Shown Us What True Grace Is…It Took One Man With The “confederate” flag to walk into their church, be welcomed to their Bible Study for almost an Hour & then Kill Each One of them in Their Most Sacred Place.
    It Took The Death Of Nine People To Bring The State Legislature of South Carolina, Republican & Democrats alike, To Finally Vote to Take The “confederate” flag Down, Off the State Grounds & Retire To A Historical Museum, Where it should have been Years Ago.

  • The flag so often seen is the flag of the state of Kentucky,, the real “Confederate” flag,,,, most people wouldnt recognize it. So lets just ban them all,, so no one is reminded of history and doesnt have to deal with being offended.

  • While we’re on a roll, why stop at flags? Let’s ban everything anybody anywhere has ever found offensive. Let’s just fall in supplication to the grievance industry; the 1st amendment, like the 2nd, is just old and outdated.

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