Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chesterfield Democrats oppose planned Confederate flag on I-95

A giant 35-star American flag flies over the Confederate (and Virginia) capitol building in 1865.
The ruins of Richmond, burned by fleeing Confederates, is in the foreground. The last time the
Confederacy was in Richmond, they pretty much destroyed our city. We don't want them back.
The Chesterfield County Democratic Committee opposes a plan to place a tall flagpole with a Confederate flag along I-95 in Chesterfield County just south of the City of Richmond.
Chesterfield Democratic Committee Asks Board of Supervisors
to Condemn Confederate Flag on I-95;

Asks Community to Come Together to Request It Not Be Flown

Chesterfield – The Chesterfield County Democratic Committee released letters it mailed today to each member of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors requesting they pass a resolution condemning the flying of an oversized Confederate battle flag in Chesterfield near I-95. Recognizing that the Board cannot legally affect the flag, the Committee instead asked for a condemnation because this is such a divisive symbol that could upset citizens, both black and white.

The Committee also referenced the significant negative impact this flag could have on visitors and, most especially, on employers deciding whether to bring their companies here. As the letter says, “We don’t believe that employers will want to bring their jobs to a County whose vistas and horizon are invaded by the Confederate flag. These employers will rightly fear that the message it sends to prospective employees is not a positive one. Jobs and businesses will go elsewhere,” hampering the excellent work being done by the Board of Supervisors to create good paying jobs in the County.

Believing this issue to be above politics or partisanship, the Chesterfield Democratic Committee also calls on individuals and organizations within the County, from our elected leaders of both parties, to civic groups, to religious groups, to the Chesterfield Republican Committee, to join with us in condemning this divisive symbol flying over our community in such a public and outsized manner.
The flagger spokesperson made this assertion: "The flag will serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage."

The counter-argument goes something like this: the Confederate flag was the flag of a country formed to protect and expand the institution of slavery. Protecting and expanding slavery is a bad thing, therefore displaying a symbol of that nation is not honorable and is not a heritage deserving celebration. What evidence can I offer that the Confederacy was formed to protect and expand slavery?

How about the words of Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy?
"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." --Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, "The Cornerstone Speech," March 21, 1861.
A month later on April 23, 1861, Stephens told the Virginia Secession Convention:
"One good and wise feature in our new or revised Constitution is, that we have put to rest the vexed question of slavery forever, so far as the Confederate halls are concerned. On this subject, from which sprung the immediate cause of our late troubles and threatened dangers, you will indulge me in a few remarks as not irrelevant to the occasion. The condition of the negro race amongst us, presents a peculiar phase of republican civilization and constitutional liberty. To some, the problem seems hard to understand. The difficulty is in theory, not in practical demonstration; that works well enough-theories in government, as in all things else, must yield to facts. No truth is clearer than that the best form or system of government for any people or society is that which secures the greatest amount of happiness, not to the greatest number, but to all the constituent elements of that society, community or State. If our system does not accomplish this; if it is not the best for the negro as well as for the white man; for the inferior as well as the superior race, it is wrong in principle. But if it does, or is capable of doing this, then it is right, and can never be successfully assailed by reason or logic. That the negroes with us, under masters who care for, provide for and protect them, are better off and enjoy more of the blessings of good government than their race does in any other part of the world, statistics abundantly prove. As a race, the African is inferior to the white man. Subordination to the white man, is his normal condition. He is not his equal by nature, and cannot be made so by human laws or human institutions. Our system, therefore, so far as regards this inferior race, rests upon this great immutable law of nature. It is founded not upon wrong or injustice, but upon the eternal fitness of things. Hence, its harmonious working for the benefit and advantage of both. Why one race was made inferior to another, is not for us to inquire. The statesman and the Christian, as well as the philosopher, must take things as they find them, and do the best he can with them as he finds them.

The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African. The enemies of our institutions ignore this truth. They set out with the assumption that the races are equal; that the negro is equal to the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be legitimate. But their premises being false, their conclusions are false also."
Stephens had been sent by the new Confederate government in Montgomery, Alabama to try and convince Virginia to join the Confederacy. The reasoning he offered to the Virginia Secession Convention was simple: if Virginia wanted to preserve, protect, and expand slavery, then it should join the Confederacy. It is a matter of historical record.

Of course the really galling thing to a lot of Richmonders--myself included--is that the people trying to foist (hoist) the flag on us aren't from Richmond at all, and they are putting the flag up as a deliberate provocation not in Richmond, but just across the Richmond border, in Chesterfield. The woman behind the "flagger" plan is from Henrico County, not Richmond. She self-identifies as a Republican--perhaps the Republican Party's Henrico Committee should take her aside and tell her that they are not interested in being co-branded with the Confederate flag.

Actual Richmonders don't want to be identified with the Confederate flag and the racism and treason it represents. The Confederacy is in Richmond's past, not it's future.

No comments: