THAT FLAG AND OTHER SYMBOLS

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OK. I can see removing the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds. Or not playing “Dixie” at public events. For some, those symbols are embarrassing or hurtful, bringing to mind something sordid or painful in their ancestral history. Kind of like Neo-Nazis asking Germans to fly the swastika beneath their national flag or having “Deutschland Uber Alles” played at sporting events. Why should folks be forced to endure public humiliation over and over?

But a wholesale change of names of streets, parks, and buildings? Tear down statues of Civil War Generals? Ban a television show because one of the props sports that flag? That really is carrying political correctness too far!

Things happened. Some really heinous things happened. And many people—many of them good, heroic folks—supported and fought under the auspices of symbols of some really heinous ideas. History is history. We cannot ignore it, for as a great philosopher once put it, those who fail to heed history are condemned to repeat it. The years of the Civil War (the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression—call it whatever you want to) were a period of profound division in America. In the last half of the 20th Century, we seemed to have finally made some inroads into conquering some of that division.

Now, though, it seems to me (profoundly worries me) that we emphasize our differences, draw lines in the sand, and argue over trivialities rather than try to find common ground on important issues. Compromise is a sign of weakness. So, we blunder along within America: conservatives versus liberals, red States versus blue States, Christians versus Muslims, this race or ethnic group versus that one—any division that signifies a righteous “us” versus an evil-driven “them.”

When do we stop this madness of judging entire groups of people by the actions of their most radical, out-of-tune elements?

My God! What is it going to take?

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