Along with maps, islands, women in white coats and explosions, The Blob has more than a passing interest in Vexillology - the study of flags. Flags can be pretty and are occasionally deeply symbolic and are an essential attribute of national identity. Every country, and probably every county, has a flag and most governments take their flags really seriously: American children pledge allegiance to
the Stars and Stripes at the beginning of every school day. There are elaborate protocols for handling the flag - it must never touch the ground; it must never be used on underwear or paper napkins; if hopelessly ragged it must be disposed reverentially preferably by burning in private.
In the 1860s, America was riven by a bloody civil war about the right of several of the states to secede from the Union because of irreconcilable differences over the right to own slaves. It came to a head over the issue of whether the rights should be allowed to extend into the unincorporated territories and allow slavery in the Wild West. It took half a decade, and more than half a million deaths, to decide that nobody was going to secede and all slaves were to be emancipated. End of slavery is not end of racial discrimination! Humans are inveterate nostalgists, we look back to the past through rose tinted spectacles and cherry pick the positive aspects of times past and air-brush the infant mortality, the casual violence, as well as the lack of smart-phones, cars and frozen pizza.
[youtube] Saturday morning and removed the offending object but was promptly arrested and charged with defacing a monument. But, as a commenter on metafilter made clear, the flag is not flying over the Capitol, it is flying over a Confederate war memorial next to the Capitol. It is generally considered appropriate to remember dead soldiers even if they fought on the wrong side; if only because "a bayonet is a weapon with a worker at each end".
If you want to take the position that flags are just fripperies and a bit of fun, then I'm with you. I had a bit of a poke at the BLT folks and their flags as an envoi to the equality [good] news from SCOTUS; suggesting that perhaps the best qualified people <?who they?> had probably not had much hand in the vexillological design. Why didn't they listen to Roman Mars? But if you take flags seriously then there are serious issues at stake in South Carolina and elsewhere in the Southern States.
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