You Can’t Remove Everything and Make Everybody Happy

I’m going to preface this by writing about another controversial removal. When longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno wasn’t totally up front about Jerry Sandusky’s molestation, he was fired, and seven months after his death in 2012, his statue outside Beaver Stadium was removed as was all of his wins, 409, which were accumulated from 1998 until his dismissal. *Earlier this year, the NCAA reinstated 111 of those wins as part of a settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania State Senator.

It’s simple, you and everybody else can remove all symbols of the Confederacy, but it won’t erase what its primary goal is with the call to remove the flag from the South Carolina state grounds which is racism and segregation. Is the Confederate flag “a part of history”? Yes. The Civil War, the Confederate States, it’s all history. Yes, the flag, a statue of Jefferson Davis, a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, they are all symbols of that time in history, but they are objects.

Personally, when I see a Confederate flag I think of a couple of things. I think of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard” and the General Lee Pontiac GTO. I think of the time I went to see Hank Williams Jr. in concert and I saw a truck with a huge rebel flag flying out of the bed. I’m from Kentucky and although we were neutral during the Civil War, a good majority of folks will tell you Kentucky is a part of the South. I know we all talk a little funny, myself included, so to an extent, I agree with that view. What I don’t agree with is the Confederate flag being used as a prop for the KKK. It’s a prop for down and dirty hate. It’s a sign of stubborn values built on the foundation of a war that ended 150 years ago. It’s a double edge sword of pride and of shame.

Will anything be ultimately resolved if all the Confederate symbols are removed? Absolutely not. It all boils down to freedom of expression weighted with a good healthy dose of empathy. In other words, we may not agree, but we both have the right to express how we feel about the rebel flag, the gay pride flag, Nazi symbolism, selfie sticks, Rachel Dolezal (where did she go?!?) and so forth. You have to understand where everyone is coming from, whether you think it’s right or wrong, and for God’s sake, have some respect!

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