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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The PC Police Censor The Dukes’ General Lee!

“Never meanin’ no harm” (CJ Sorg/Flickr)

Sons and daughters! I express outrage over what I read yesterday. Although I can’t find an official statement from Warner Brothers, a hobby collector broke the news WB would be removing from its future toy General Lees… the Confederate Flag. Yes, iconic car will be sans Dixie starting January 1, 2013. I’ve seen a lot of outrageous political correctness, but this one takes the cake.

It has me thinking, “what’s next?” Just yesterday, Penn State, bless their hearts, announced Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” would no longer be played at home games due to the lyrics, “touching me, touching you” which I can understand, but how sensitive are we going to be? My mind is blown.

Bo and Luke Duke’s 1969 Dodge Charger is as iconic as the 80’s TV series itself. Confession time, I had a toy General Lee with Bo and Luke action figures when I was a kid. I’m sure they are long gone, but I’ll always remember that Charger darting down the dirt roads of Hazzard County, always outrunning Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and the boys always had Waylon Jennings telling their stories. Just last summer, me, my 7-mo pregnant sister, and my brother-in-law walked blocks and blocks through Gatlinburg TN to Cooter’s, talk about un-PC. I kid. I’ve seen a General Lee many times and I still get giddy. Seriously.

Whether or not you agree with what the Confederate Flag stands for, it’s an enduring symbol of this country’s history. Even if Mississippi is the last state to keep the traditional representation on their state flag after other southern states evolved over the years, this symbol will never go away.

Just leave them Duke boys alone!