Flag Flap Masks Bigger Problem

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

Editor, The Herald:

I would like to opine on the reactions by government officials regarding the South Carolina tragedy. To me, the reaction of blaming the Confederate flag’s symbolism misplaces the problem.

Where I heard that golfer Bubba Watson changed the flag on the General Lee (car from the “Dukes of Hazzard” television show) from the Confederate to the American flag, I thought, he is misinformed.

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When I hear the reactions that blame the Confederate flag for representing racism and slavery, the analogy that comes to my mind is a child touching a poison ivy leaf. The parent cuts all the leaves off of the vine to punish the vine for what is produced that harmed the child. Uprooting the entire vine is too dangerous, and to avoid contracting the illness, the vine is left. Well, the leaves will grow back, so nothing was actually accomplished.

Slavery and racism are as American as apple pie, baseball and the U.S. flag. The institution of racism is preserved in the U.S. Constitution (Amendment 13). It affects the laws and courts, and deforms a system of justice that misshapes society. That is the real problem, not the Confederate flag.

It would be unimaginable to preserve the Holocaust as an institution for human treatment. Yet, the 13th Amendment preserves the institution of slavery while producing boundless tragedies to blacks in politics and the criminal system. It would be ersatz, and even hypocritical, for any person to say that they oppose the Confederate flag’s symbolism yet work for or support the jails, prisons, correctional industry, and criminal laws in their present usage. The 13th Amendment is that vine that racism sprouts out of. Not eradicating the 13th Amendment is like cutting the leaves from a poison-ivy vine. It comes back.

The legal slavery treatments of prisoners, jail inmates and civil commitment produce a vile and sinister mentality under the auspices of sovereign immunity. Because of the said wards’ non-person status, this is not scrutinized. The Confederate flag did not contribute to the South Carolina killings. America’s politics foster and maintain hatred and racism.

The link between the two (S.C. tragedies and my analogy) is the systematic deprecation of black lives. The hatred of the killer was clear. Yet the mindset in judges, politicians and corrections officials is ominous in the penal codes, laws and mistreatments of the aforementioned.

Greg Richardson