Just looking at my social media feed, it seems apparent that everyone is in on the sudden push to ban the Confederate flag from public view. People cannot speak out fast enough in order to show that they are on the bandwagon.
I thought we were all in on the conversation…but then there you are, guy with a Confederate flag in your truck.
There are many of you, even here in the Midwest, which surprises me a little bit.
Your flags take many forms, usually displayed in the back window of your vehicle. Some of them are in the form of Chevy or Ford logos or are paired with some of your favorite brands. Sometimes, the flag is on your mudflaps or a bumper sticker.
So, guy who still keeps a Confederate flag on his truck, here is the thing:
For better or worse, I already know everything I need to know about you.
Are You Some Kind of Rebel?
It’s true, Americans are prone to impulsive overreaction. We cheer Wal-Mart for being the first to ban all Confederate themed merchandise. We are the same people who ban books about a boy helping a runaway slave because we cannot see past the language. We cannot and should not try to sanitize our cultural history. Doing so only makes us more ignorant.
But, guy with the confederate flag on his truck, I doubt you are thinking about any of this.
Instead, you have some notion of “heritage” that the most articulate among you explain to the rest of the country, some heritage that can only be signified by that particular flag.
Are you a “rebel?” If so, what are you rebelling against? I don’t see you marching in the streets, taking on the federal government. What is it about that flag that you feel so personally connected to? What is it about that flag that you see it and think “That’s what I’m all about!” As far as I can tell, you aren’t rebelling from anything. If anything, you seem to be doing everything you can to fit in with your people.
I don’t feel the same way about the Missouri flag. I feel some swell of patriotism with the American flag, but I don’t even put it on my car, and have a hard time saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I honestly cannot see how anyone would summarize themselves with any flag at all.
Sorry, You Don’t Get To Use The Swastika Either
You may not know this, but there are many symbols that have been used and reused throughout the centuries. The swastika is actually thousands of years old. You can find it on ancient pottery. It has been used as a symbol for many things, including even a good-luck sign, like a four leaf clover.
But of course, you know that the Nazis ruined the swastika. Any meaning that anyone would claim the symbol has is now destroyed. You cannot put a swastika lawn ornament or wind chime in front of your house without people thinking you are a Nazi.
Likewise, your symbol has been wrecked. Like it or not, it’s not a symbol of “heritage.” It’s a symbol of backwards thinking and failure. You don’t get to use the symbol without people making those associations.
People here in Kansas City are proud of our town. But a century ago, the city was run by a ruthless mob boss. We don’t use him as a symbol for civic pride anymore. Boss Tom Pendergast is an interesting part of history, but I have no connection to him.
Like Boss Tom, I fail to see what possible connection you feel to the Confederacy. None of you can have more than a very remote connection to the Confederacy or the Civil War. Did you do some research on Ancestry.com? It’s pretty hard to figure out your family tree even that far back. Even then, I feel no real connection to my ancestors. No one in America feels any sort of connection to the people or events of 150 years ago, so I’m dubious about your claims of connection to the past.
This Is What I Know About You
Guy with a Confederate Flag on his truck, I told you that I already know everything I need to know about you.
I know that you are disconnected from the national conversation, either by intentional or unintentional ignorance.
I know you don’t care what people think, or at least you play it that way. I can tell your truck is your status symbol, your claim to masculinity. No one drives a vehicle that uselessly big around the city, with so many bumper stickers without wanting it to summarize who they want to be, including their manhood. Heck, I can tell from your truck that you love NASCAR, guns, hunting, and a particular brand of engine parts. If all of your belongings were stolen, I’d guess your truck would tell us more about you than anything else in the world. It is the Rosetta Stone of your life.
I am sorry that our culture has created a false masculinity that is tied up in these things. I’m sorry that you feel the need to drive this vehicle around to prove to yourself and everyone else who you are. But I know that you and I have absolutely nothing in common, and thus having a conversation with you would be completely unnecessary and a waste of my time.
The rest of our country just cannot understand any good reason you might have for putting a Confederate flag in your truck, and I just don’t have the patience to try.
Now quit swerving through the lanes and use your turn signal like the rest of civilized society.