a reply to: OccamsRazor04
You're right, of course. It is just a symbol. I think I actually said that at the beginning of my first post in this thread. And it has gotten a bad
rap over the years... most of it directly caused by the very culture that demonizes it today.
The Ku Klux Klan is mostly to blame, of course, because the flag has been used by them since the War of Northern Aggression. But they have a history
that goes far further back in history than the war. They started off as a vigilante justice group, not very unlike the Guardian Angels in New York.
Back then the South was ruled by land barons (plantation owners); most of the population was rural and poor. These plantation owners pretty much ruled
an almost feudal culture. Corruption was rampant, and the law only truly applied to those who had the right connections. The KKK was formed to right
wrongs that the law wouldn't (or couldn't) right. They went after corrupt politicians, wife-beaters, slave-beaters, horse-beaters, thieves,
deadbeats... anything that went against the law or tradition.
They dressed in white to symbolize purity, and wore hoods for protection from retaliation. Those targeted would wake up in the middle of the night to
a cross (Christian symbol) burning in their front yard. The fire was a way to make it glow; no more, no less. That was a warning: shape up, or else;
we're watching you. If the target didn't shape up, the next meeting would be a severe beating. The third strike would be an execution.
There was never a beating under a lit cross, as the media likes to portray. That was a much more recent development, and a further bastardization of
the original intent.
When the soldiers returned from the war to their destroyed homes, dead relatives, burned fields, and carpetbaggers actively stealing land, they were
full of hate. The freed slaves were, through no fault of their own, a constant reminder of their suffering, so the white supremacist movement was
born. The soldiers kept the flag they fought under.
Over time, the racism in the KKK got worse, but the majority of the population mellowed and moved on. This majority kept their flag too, to show that
they may have been beaten in battle but would never be defeated in life. It became a legacy of strength and resolve and a fiercely independent spirit.
The KKK became a symbol of racism, and in my area, has been almost completely ignored into oblivion.
The true irony is that by attacking the flag, people are actually attacking those who have moved on from that tragic period in history. Those who
still cling to hatred benefit as they hide in the shadows, while those who believe in live and let live are punished.