I hate bringing up stuff I know will generate an argument. On the other hand, I love bringing up stuff I know will generate an argument.
And as I was driving back to the paper from an interview earlier I was listening to a talk show and was reminded of a short wire story we ran in the paper on Tuesday, about plans in the Tampa, Florida, area to fly a giant Confederate flag where two major highways intersect. When I say giant, I mean 30-by-50 feet, and a 139-foot flag pole. The group Sons of Confederate Veterans is raising the flag...on a plot of private land.
I've never been one to pretend history didn't happen. I wrote on someone else's blog recently about an incident when I worked in Richmond, Va. I was new. Different colleagues were taking me and other newbies out to show us the town. One night I rode with a colleague who was showing me residential neigbhorhoods. We drifted into one 'hood featuring statues of Confederate war heroes. My colleague turned ashen and started apologizing. I asked why. I mean it's not like we can deny the Civil War happened. And driving me past a couple of statues wasn't a hate crime. I didn't see the big deal.
That being said, there is a place for history and there's a reason to promote it. And there's a reason not to promote it sometimes. It's my humble opinion that while we shouldn't try to suppress talk of the "Old" South or try to erase the contributions of Confederate soldiers to their side of a shameful war, I have to ask why?
Why a giant flag next to a high-traffic highway? Why now?
Yeah, yeah, I realize pride in one's ancestors and all of that. But why not show pride in the result of their ancestor's work...by flying a giant American flag?