No, Ma'am, The Flag Is For Everyone, Not Just Racists
Many, upon reading the headline of this post will wonder if this is going to be an explosive emotional tirade against BLM and its Utah Chapter, no matter how "unaffiliated." I hope it does not disappoint to hear that it will in fact not be. I do not promise a sarcasm free article, but I will attempt to put my heart away off of my sleeve and use logic and reason instead of unbridled emotionalism.
First, a moment of Truth in Advertising. I am a veteran, the son of a veteran, the grandson of a veteran, the great grandson of a veteran, and the brother of a veteran. I have loved this country since my first breath and I hold the symbols of its promise and truths to be more precious to me than anything else.
Have we always acted in accordance with those promises? No. Have we always lived in line with those truths? No. Yet that does not mean that those promises and truths are wrong, just that we as human beings have failed them.
During a recent interview on Fox News, Utah BLM Chapter founder Lex Scott made an impassioned argument that the flag was racist and that those who support it are racist. However, in the end her argument fails to meet even the most basic of logical standards of reason, and are based almost entirely in emotionalism.
The crux of her argument falls along these lines:
- Racists Use The American Flag At Their Rallies
- People See Those Racists And Assume The Flag Is Racist
- Therefore The American Flag Is Racist
Talk about a leap into utter nonsense.
Her statement, as reported by Fox News is as follows:
"I would ask those people if they ever showed outrage when the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street holding that flag, if they ever showed outrage last week when Patriot Front, a White supremacist group, was marching through Philadelphia holding that flag, if they feel outraged that the Three Percenters have co-opted their flag, that the Proud Boys have co-opted their flag," she said. "If they have never shown outrage when hate groups use their symbol for hatred, then they need to not come to us – they need to go directly to those groups. When you allow a hate group to fly that flag in the name of hatred, and you say nothing, and you do nothing, you send a message to us that you agree with their messaging. You agree with that hate, and you condone it."
I wish that this statement were not actually what was said, but it was, and the emotional equivocation that it gives is beyond ridiculous.
You know what else was at that rally? Bottled water. Does that mean that because "racists" were drinking bottled water at that event that bottled water is racist?
Hey they also wear clothing, in fact, jeans, while "being racist." I guess that makes all jeans racist by proxy, using the same logic. But by extension, all clothing would then be racist.
They also talk, so I guess that makes talking racist.
Oh, and they're protesting, so that makes protesting racist... so I guess BLM is engaging in racism when it protests...
No, of course they are not. That is a completely fallacious argument by any stretch of the imagination. So also is the argument that because racists hold up a flag it makes it racist.
It was that flag that rode in to battle to free the slaves. It was that flag that squashed rebellions to reinstitute slavery. It was that flag that passed the civil rights act and many other amendments. It was under that flag that the 54th Massachusetts Battalion drew their last breaths, and it was under that same flag that my brothers in green and I served regardless of color.
That flag is not racist, nor does it belong to racists, just like conservatism does not belong to racists either. You can listen to my podcast about it here:
You see, this is what happens when you try to change society. People who do not want change will always fight against you. When you blur the lines of racism and classism, and attempt to make racism into a systemic issue rather than the personal sin of individual people, you can easily mistake symbols and ideas as being a part of something wholly different from what they are.
Society is not racist, expecting people to care for themselves is not racist, holding people accountable for the crimes they commit is not racist, even if sometimes people who do such things can engage in racist behavior.
By not calling out the individual racist behavior within the criminal justice system but rather saying that "all" criminal justice is racist, you create a false equivocation between a white man putting a white man away for murder for life to a white man sentencing a black man to a disproportionate prison term because he is adhering to minimum sentencing laws.
Criminal justice in and of itself is not racist, but sometimes individuals who engage in it also engage in racism.
Just like the flag is not racist, even if those who are holding it also engage in racism.
If you want to know where I stand on racism, I dare you to listen to the above podcast, you will not have to wonder.
I HATE and ABHOR racism. I also HATE and ABHOR when people use racism to define behaviors and situations that are not, in fact, racist. It only makes real racism harder to fight and gives it ammunition to fire back.
You know what would be a fantastic response to racists using the flag for their rallies? If those protesting racism also used that same flag and stood up and said that it stands for freedom for all.
You want to really hit those racists with a gut punch? Remind them that the flag their carrying was carried in to battle specifically against those with their ideology.
Wrap yourself and the righteous cause against racism IN THE FLAG, because that is what the flag truly means. Freedom to be who you want to be, freedom to believe what you want to believe, and the freedom to define who you are regardless of your skin color.
Yet that also requires something from conservatives, we have to be able to separate legitimate complaints against systems and people from the BLM nonsense, and we have to hold both ourselves and our movement to those founding principles of equality. We have to not turn a blind eye to racism when we see it, but speak out clearly and forcefully against it as our fathers did when they pushed to abolish slavery and grant citizenship and liberty to Black Americans.
In other words, there are no simple answers, and our problem, as always, is that simple answers are all that we want. It is easy to point a finger and blame all of my problems on someone else, it is something else entirely to take stock of myself, my family, my community, my state, and my country and look for faults and how I might be able to correct them.
The flag is not racist, racists are racist. The flag represents the idea of liberty and freedom, and because of that, it should be embraced, not discarded.
So help spoil a racist's day by reminding them that the flag they're waving stands for freedom for all people, including all minority citizens as well.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is a fulfilling endeavor.