Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Get a load of this guy

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in!

Despite all of the talk of reduced postings, I couldn't let this one go. Sonny is apparently being challenged in the Republican gubner primary by batshit-crazy "States Rights" candidate Ray McBerry, whose platform seems to be that he doesn't find the current state flag to be offensive enough. Never mind that Sonny won in part by campaigning against Roy Barnes' dinner mat blue version of the flag, or that the current "compromise" version of the flag is itself an homage to the one of the Confederate flags; McBerry is upset that Georgia didn't return to the 1956 Confederate battle flag version. The compromise version isn't hateful enough, I guess. He also doesn't think Sonny was tough enough on companies that hire illegal immigrants (the one thing I might, kinda, be inclined to agree with him on, although I'm sure that the remainder of our ideas on immigration are in stark conflict), and that Georgia needs to amend its constitution to give fetuses legal status.

What's the matter with Georgia?


Anonymous said...

Finally, a plausible alternative to the dark-race loving Perdue.

You know, Sonny has been way too progressive on racial issues for me during the past four years. He turned his back on the "flagger" movement, and then he passed a weak anti-Mexican bill.

He just doesn't get it. You have to dance with the one that brought you. And by God, the racists in this state, the millions that there are, brought him.

Till my death, I shout NO VOTES FOR A TURNCOAT!

Patrick Armstrong said...

Anon 9:38: I think it was more the teachers who felt they got screwed by King Roy, and everyone else who didn't like his arrogant fanny who put Ex-Democrat Sonny into office.

And King Roy's flag was the worst looking flag, ever.

Another thing: The more you equate Rebel flag wavers solely with racism, the more you alienate a non-racist, pro-Southern, historical preservationist group of your Georgian neighbors. This Southern By the Grace of God Liberal would like to thank you for your open mind.

Anonymous said...

Rebel flag-wavers are racists!

I will not keep an open mind for people who seek to resurrect Jim Crow-era symbols. It would be wrong to bring back "Colored" water fountains and it is morally wrong to hoist that symbol of racism and oppression back above the Capitol.

Patrick Armstrong said...

(Oh, t'was not so long ago that I knew everything, too...)

Beleive that all you want, kiddo, I know for a fact that it ain't true. If it were that cut and dry, it wouldn't ever have been such an issue.

And I'm someone who's neither owned nor waved a Rebel flag.

Anonymous said...

So you are disputing the fact that the Confederate flag was added in 1956 in direct response to the growing Civil Rights movement at the time?

If so, maybe your age has had a dehabilitating effect on your memory.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Man, you are going to make me bloviate all over this blog...I hope Publius and DDDY forgive me.

No, I don't dispute that at all, and in my younger days I made the same argument and I thought it meant something too. If my addled memory serves me correctly, it was in response specifically to Brown vs Board of Education and Federal orders to integrate schools, not the Civil Rights movement in general (but on that, I must allow, I could be wrong).

But even before that, the Georgia flag was based on the First National Flag of the Confederacy (from the 1870's to 1956), just like the one we have now. Even King Roy's flag had not just one, but two flags representing the Confederacy and Jim Crow Georgia on it. And it was ugly, the worst of all possible outcomes.

I don't dispute that there are racists who have used the Rebel Flag to serve their own nefarious purposes, that would be silly (though those same folks make plenty of use out of the American flag as well, and I know there are plenty of racist Yankees who also hate the Rebel Flag).

I do dispute, however, that everyone who waves the Rebel Flag is a racist or even that most people who wave the Rebel Flag are racists. That is just flat out generalization.

What you fail to realize is that, in addition to being used by some racists, the Rebel flag has also been used by a great many people to signify a great many things. Self identified hellraisers, rock & rollers, rednecks, historical preservationists, the Dukes of Hazzard, the Bandit, and just plain ol' folks who grew up in Georgia and the South and never thought about race; these folks all identify the Rebel Flag not with racism but with the down home small town South and all the generally good connotations that come along with sweet tea, 'nanna puddin' and Grandma's house.

Or, in the case of the hellraisers and rock & rollers, it is a symbol of sticking it to the man, the same way a punk rocker wears outrageous hair color and hippies wear Che Guevara t-shirts.

Hell, I've seen black folks wearing the rebel flag. I've seen Cherokee and Creek folks celebrating the Rebel Flag. I've known folks from the Middle East and India who wore the Rebel flag because they associated it with rock & roll. I saw, in Athens, Georgia, an upside down Rebel Flag with white Pentagrams instead of starts with a caption that said "Southern Witch."

And you want to say to me that all the Rebel Flag stands for is racism? Sorry, kiddo, you need to get out more.

Racism is a serious problem in this country, and there are serious racists (white, black, brown, yellow and red) everywhere. Symbols are important things that have many meanings, but they are the lightning rods that detract from real dialouge and solutions. The fight against racism in this country requires a great deal of serious thought and coherent action - and it will take more time than many of us will be allowed. That fight will require us to win hearts and minds at the same time we vocally disarm those who will not be convinced. Sweeping, irrational and incorrect statements like "All Rebel Flag wavers are racist" only set us back, and make us the enemies of sweet tea, 'nanna puddin' and Grandma's house loving neighbors who can be convinced to agree with us on bigger things.

hillary said...

So if it's a "fuck you" to the man, is it really an appropriate state symbol? Maybe we should grow up a little and try not to act like jerks about it.

Dawg Corleone said...

Grow up a little and not act like jerks...

Good idea. Maybe while we're at it, we can stop putting words like "Bushit" on our bumper stickers.

Ned said...

Are you seriously equating the actions of an individual to the actions of a state?

Someone putting Bushit on their car is very different from a state putting a symbol racists openly claim as their own on the flag.

If we put the bumper sticker on the flag you might have a legitimate complaint, but to me it looks like you are trying to point the finger and say "shame on them" instead of owning up to your own faults.

I tell you what I do like about the flag though - that little dude there is protecting the constitution and the values of the state, and he is there to make sure people can put Bushit stickers on their car as freedom of expression.

Publius said...

You know, nobody has hit on the real core of the argument here.

"Bushit" is just lame. I mean seriously. Can't the marketing geniuses find a better pun than that?

Dawg Corleone said...

Publius comes close to the core of the argument. Bushit is lame.

But it's worse than that. It's stupid, and it's a waste.

My grandfather killed Nazis in Europe to guarantee this woman's right to free speech. How does she use that blood-earned legacy? To give us "Bushit."

That's not celebrating free speech, and it sure as hell isn't protecting it. It's trivializing it.

Re the flag: no Lefty is gonna flank me on that one. I well understand the reason the '56 flag was designed; I was and am opposed to it, and I believe anyone who wants it back is a knuckle-dragging bigot.

Ned said...

I got my friend a sticker that says F the president in the style of the W the president sticker, which I thought was pretty funny. His GF at the time had a bumper sticker that said "The only Bush I trust is my own"

Of course, the word Bushit might actually have a special meaning in the future. We'll be able to refer to all the debt we have in the future as paying off the Bushit.

Publius said...

Well, I'm not going to go quite that far and say that it trivializes free speech. I just thought it was a lame play on words.

Free speech is pretty much sacrosanct, and it should be. Sure, that means that we have to put up a lot of opinions that we think are moronic, but it's the price we pay for having the ability to espouse our own (always brilliant, of course, since it comes from us) political speech.

I get a leeeeeeetle nervous, from a Constitutional standpoint when we start making value judgements through a free speech prism. So I'll make me value judgment about the quality of "Bushit" through a wordsmithing and marketing perspective, and leave the First Amendment sacrosanct.

"F the President" is much better from that standpoint, although (and some of my fellow Democrats dislike me for this view) I don't like it either. I've always thought that, regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, you should have some respect for the institution of the Presidency, even if - like me - you don't have much respect for the current occupant of the institution itself.

Dawg Corleone said...

I agree with Tim Bryant: anyone with more than one bumper sticker--Left or Right--is strange. The more bumper stickers, the stranger.

bulletdawg said...

Poor Patrick living all alone in the naive fantasy South where the Rebel flag is merely a representation of "sweet tea, 'nanna puddin,' and Grandma's house."

I doubt many blacks in Georgia see the flag in the same innocent context as you do, Mr. Armstrong.

For most African-Americans, the Rebel flag stands for hooded cowards who rode into the night terrorizing black children, intimidating black women, and lynching black men.

Did you know?: There are at least 500 documented cases of lynching in Georgia during the Jim Crow-era (the actual count is probably in the thousands).

Don't you wonder how they justified their murder? They had to have ignored reality, they had to see blacks as expendable, worthless, and as chattel. They had to believe they were fighting for a greater cause, they had to think that they were taking life to secure the purity of their state. They had to believe they were preserving some mythical South, where etiquette and tradition reign supreme.

The truth is when those hooded cowards rode through the night, hoisting the Confederate flag in the air and taking the life of the innocent, they rode for me and millions of white Southerners (and yourself, I assume).

Our membership in a race that still unequally controls this country socially, economically, and governmentally, is due in part to their acts of terror. They did it so we could reside in a world where our skin color is always an asset and never a burden. They rode so that we would never have to worry about our race impeding our ability to accomplish our goals. They killed to ensure that the white race remained in a state of privilege.

Personally, I don't want that history. I don't want the advantage that came from those 500+ deaths. Each day, those deaths must be powerful reminders to each of us to alter our world. They must encourage us to challenge bigotry and racism when we see it penetrating our communities and our own individual lives. Each of us, as Southerners, have a duty to stand up to our bigoted history and attempt to right the wrong that was committed in our name.

To hoist the flag atop the Capitol, or to place it at monuments throughout the state, or to commemorate Confederate Memorial Day is to empower those hooded cowards who rode through the night killing innocent Georgians.

I do not want to live in a Georgia that celebrates those terrorists by proudly displaying their bloody rag, and I am thankful that our state had a Governor, like Roy Barnes, who had the courage to stand up and demand a change.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I'm naive because I accept there are plenty of folks out there that wave the Rebel Flag and it has nothing to do with race?

OK. I'm naive. Y'all get to call me names. Go y'all.

I accept that there are virulent racists and terrorists out there. I accept that there are virulent racists and terrorists who used this flag. I am not defending that behavior nor am I turning a blind eye towards it; as a student of history, I cannot. I accept that this flag represents something terrible to our black neighbors. I accepted all of these things a very long time ago.

That's why I don't have a Rebel Flag in my house, that's why I never have had one. That's why my Daddy didn't have one, and that's why my Grand-daddy didn't have one.

But I know plenty of good folks - folks without a racist bone in their body - who have.

To paint all Georgians who love that flag as racists is patently untrue. To paint all Southerners who consider that flag a part of their heritage as racists is also patently untrue. You can't even see the depth of the progressive message in the term "heritage not hate." Maybe I just have too much faith in my neighbors and fellow Southerners, black and white, to overcome the bloody and dirty past. It took me a long time to come to grips with that faith and if that faith is a sin, I'll gladly roast for it.

I guess all y'all come from perfect circles of families and friends and neighbors, none of which have the slightest bit of racisim in the gene pool, Rebel flag waving or not. I guess none of y'all's people have ever waved that Rebel flag in April for reasons that had nothing to do with race.

Again, go y'all. It must be awesome to have perfect families and friends. So, by all means, keep up that good, consensus building work you're doing - nothing wins hearts and minds like disrespect.

hillary said...

I think, yet again, the point is being missed. I'm not disputing the fact that people can own and wave all the rebel flags they want to, for whatever reason they'd like (whether it's just "sweet tea sure is awesome" or "I hate black people"). Isn't the issue here whether it's an appropriate _state_ symbol, rather than whether it should be allowed for private use?

Dawg Corleone said...

I agree with Hillary. If peckerwoods want to fly it on front of their double-wides, hey, it's a free country, and nobody's talked about trying to stop them.

The State Capitol is another kettle of fish.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I was particularly speaking to the issue that Anon 5:21pm brought up: "Rebel flag-wavers are racists!," that they are the ones who put Sonny in office. I don't think either of those things are true.

As to it being a state symbol, I don't think it should be part of the state flag. But those of us who seek change, and seek to make that change permanent, would be better served to figure out why so many people oppose that change and then speak to those issues specifically. We can scold our way there, to be sure, but that makes our position tenuous at best, and unecessarily encourages backlash.

I think this new flag we have is going to be around for a long, long time. It is Confederate enough to disarm at least some of the opposition, and it put the issue away for normal, everyday Georgians, who were embarassed nationally not by the symbol, but by the fight.

bulletdawg said...

I agree individuals have a right to fly the Rebel flag outside of their homes. I also agree that the state should not embrace the symbol by incorporating the design into our state flag.

But the points above, do not change the moral fact that the flag itself is a racist symbol. It does not represent "sweet tea and Southern hospitality," but oppression and murder.

As a liberal, I do not see issues in black/white that often, but this is one in which there is a clear right/wrong. Here, flying the Confederate flag above our State Capitol is wrong. Also, displaying the Confederate flag outside of your home, while unarguably constitutional, is morally wrong.

Laddi said...

"nothing wins hearts and minds like disrespect."

Who is disrespecting who? Isn't the fact that southern folk who aren't racist but still use a symbol that for many evokes racist intent itself disrespectful? Patrick, you state you've never had a flag in your home, nor have your family. Why not? Because you yourself say "I accept that this flag represents something terrible to our black neighbors." I'm extending this to say "disrespectful to our black neighbors." So who would be disrespecting who?

patsbrother said...

For the love of pete, I am amazed at how many times I have heard the "my grandfather killed Nazis of this woman's right to free speech and look how she abuses it" tripe. First, you grandfather did not kill Nazis to protect the First Amendment. Second, the woman with the Bushit sticker was not celebrating her rights or trivializing them: she was exericising them. What is the point of having a right if you could only ever "celebrate" them instead of use them.

Dawg Corleone said...

Well, my grandfather told me he did. Perhaps he was lying, although I've seen the medals, so he must've killed somebody.

I think the woman is an abject idiot, rude, crude, and utterly disrespectful of the sensibilities of her fellow citizens. I also think she that, if Bushit is the best she can do, she is an inarticulate boor who is contributing to the decline of discourse.

And I know my grandfather wouldn't have liked her.

patsbrother said...

Dawg Vitto, you misunderstand. I did not question your grandfather's service to his country in WWII; I said he did not so serve to protect the First Amendment.

Our nation went to war against Nazi Germany in response to that government's declaration of war upon us, to stop imperialist butchery in allied nations, and to confront the threat Nazi Germany posed to the freedom of movement of American vessels in the Atlantic.

At no time did Nazi Germany threaten the civil liberties Americans enjoy as Americans. Such a threat was and is absolutely impossible. Only Americans can threaten those freedoms America affords its citizens, and that will remain true until the entity we know as our nation ceases to be. Outside forces may threaten us in every physical way, but they cannot threaten the way we choose to govern ourselves. Today, it is not al-Qaeda that threatens our liberty, but our reaction to that organization and others like them. That is both the burden and the benefit of being an American citizen.

You cannot fight and risk your life for liberty but only such liberty the exercise of which you would approve. Because that is not liberty, my friend. That is privilege.

andyrusk said...

Who gives a damn?
Swapping one scrap of cloth for another isn't going to heal the sick, feed the hungry, abate racism, or clean up our air and water, so what the hell are we arguing about?
I don't think we should have a flag at all.
We don't need one.

Ask yourself this- "How has my life been affected by the change to the state flag?" Is your health in decline? Did your spouse run off to another state? Did you lose your job? Do you wake up grumpy every morning?


Fly whatever flag you wanna at home, but over the state capitol- a big empty pole.
Call it a symbol of substanceless debate.

The world would be a much safer place if humanity could divorce itself from blind allegiance to empty symbols.

Anonymous said...

"Fly whatever flag you wanna at home, but over the state capitol- a big empty pole.
Call it a symbol of substanceless debate."

I like it!

Anonymous said...

Run Andy, Run!

We all know that the flag issue is a mere tactic to keep us from focusing on the real issues, several of which Andy addressed. Same as gay marriage, abortion, etc. Big Fat Red Herrings that are being dangled in order to distract us from what's really wrong, and who's fault it is, and above all, how to fix it. Let's keep our eyes on the prize(s) folks. Like living wages, health care, and the environment.