The justification for displaying treasonous symbols based upon family history, “heritage” – is indefensible. For example, in my own case I have some German-American ancestry, and some southern ancestry. One of my paternal ancestors was born in southern Germany, arriving in the USA at age three. He was seriously wounded in our civil war, fighting to defend the union of states, and our national Constitution, as a foot soldier.
My Dad’s elder brother was a paratrooper in the US Army during WW2 who served in Europe, fighting against the German reich. (On my maternal, Irish, southern side, a history of any Confederate service is unknown to me.) I simply cannot imagine anyone in our family justifying the display of the nazi swastika for “pride of our German heritage”!
Here’s a well-argued essay suggesting that neither symbol above should be displayed by loyal Americans. In the case of the stars and bars of the confederacy, that flag represents the ownership and abuse of other human beings. (Thomas Jefferson reportedly claimed the children he fathered with his slave, Sally Hemings, as “property”.) It is shameful to celebrate and defend such a heritage by flying that rebel banner.
I ask, from the flip side of the Golden Rule : If you were “owned” rather than “owner” would you be displaying this symbol? The words of George Santayana come to mind : Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Remembering is one thing; prideful celebration and display is something altogether different. Humility requires, nay, demands that we put away such artifacts.
Independence Day is a day humbly to celebrate unity, equality, liberty. Like Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which immediately became law but did not instantly become practice, these words ring true : Love hath one race, one realm, one power. ~MB Eddy. The human race knows this in its heart, and will come to see that it is practiced naturally. We have an internal and eternal sense of justice, and an innate ability to recognize the ideal. This is our destiny.
Philosopher John Rawls (in my retelling) invites us to a game of musical chairs at a table where the constitution of the land is being drafted. While we deliberate over what is just for various classes of people, we don’t know what chair we will occupy — a wheelchair? – a throne? – a beggar’s pallet on a sidewalk? – that of a bank CEO? — yes, true justice must truly be blind. Nobody knows where one will sit tomorrow, which is true today. Disregard our future seating at your own peril.
Excerpted from a powerful essay by Robin Wright at The New Yorker : The statue [of Liberty] was the brainchild of Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent French expert on the U.S. Constitution who also headed the French Anti-Slavery Society. After the Civil War, in 1865, he wanted to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S., enshrined in the new Thirteenth Amendment, which, in theory, reaffirmed the ideals of freedom—this time for all people—first embodied in the Declaration of Independence.