Ironic Symmetry

Flags flying in the windPeople tend to use historical narratives to construct the essence of a movement or symbol, but only when it is convenient. Case in point, a recent Washington Spectator article argues that the POW/MIA flag should be taken down because it was a cynical tool that the Nixon administration created to galvanize support for the Vietnam War. Soldiers who had previously been classified as “Killed in Action/Body Unrecovered” were suddenly identified as “Missing in Action” or potentially POWs whose life or remains must be recovered before leaving Vietnam. These efforts included exaggerating the numbers of soldiers as POWs or Missing in Action in the Vietnam War to justify, in part, continuing the war. Because of this narrative of the flag, the author asserts that it should be removed because of its negative origins in manipulative lies and violence, comparing it to the Confederate flag and its historical meaning. Continue reading “Ironic Symmetry”

Symbols and the Confederate Flag

The confederate flag flying in the windI am not a fan of the Confederate Flag. While I have spent all but two of the past 28 years in states that joined the Confederacy, I grew up in a Border State with parents from another Border State, making me an outsider to many who see the flag as an important symbol of their Southern heritage. Despite all of this, I found myself bothered by the argument in last week’s Atlantic article by Ta-Nehisi Coates calling for the immediate removal of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol. Coates asserts that, since the shooter had apparent links to white supremacist ideology and the Confederate flag, these murders become the occasion finally to remove the flag from the Capitol grounds. Continue reading “Symbols and the Confederate Flag”