Today, the Confederate flag remains relevant only because someone’s making money off of it or finds it appealing for varied reasons. The International Business Times ran a story today about how global the Confederate flag has become with it showing up in Australia’s notorious Rebels motorcycle gang, Canadian bars, German neo-Nazi groups who can’t publicly wear or show a swastika, and Brazilian festivals celebrated by descendants from southern Civil War vets who settled there. So there still might be life for it overseas but that’s not a long-term proposition with mass appeal.
The way some in the south have held on to the Confederate flag has always seemed like a bit of an anachronism. An attempt to hold on to something that no longer exists and may even represent a history that has become a bit revisionist if not altered over the last several years. I’ve read posts lately that say that Robert E. Lee may have surrendered to keep England from reinvading the U.S. He’s therefore considered a better man than Lincoln in terms of helping preserve the Union. France was evidently ready to step in and help the South as Confederate supplies and their ability to fight were rapidly dwindling. Who knew?
I suppose a bit of revisionism is part of human nature. But I admit to not understanding the need to continue to fly a symbol that has so much negativity to it. Yet, that symbol has adorned everything for decades from the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazard to baby clothes to hunting attire without stirring up the reaction it took one mentally disturbed racist with a gun and nine dead innocent people to create. And what’s even more curious is how the sales of Confederate flag merchandise increased elsewhere once Wal-Mart announced they were pulling it from their shelves
I’d venture to say that many people who quickly went on line to buy items with Confederate flag on it may not have even fully considered why. They may have done it as a symbol of rebellion. To show anyone who wanted to take away the right to buy it that they would just buy more of it until they couldn’t – regardless of whatever that flag might symbolize today or in the past.
Then there are no doubt those who thought this stuff will, at some point in the future, be worth more than they paid for it. For them, I can only say good luck and wonder where their moral compass sits. There’s not much of a precedent for a brand that has such negativity attached to it increasing in value unless you have an item that has historical significance. Confederate belt buckles are not historically significant.
Regardless of who buys these items and why, the Confederate flag will only become more irrelevant because the world in which it was born and kept alive no longer exists. We are now a nation of multi-ethnic families, where people of color hold public office, and whose divides are far more complicated than black and white. And as for being a rebel…we have other brands for that. So whatever pride the Confederate flag might instill is becoming a false one, and it now deserves to be put to rest or in a museum with the other relics of the past.