Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Battle Of The Flags (Gay Pride vs. Confederate Battle)

I Don't Think That's What The GOP 'Autopsy' Report Quite Meant
On the eve of the Debt Ceiling and the nearing market chaos what do we find Twitter frantically tweeting about? The Gay Pride flag and the Confederate flag. What the heck?

What happened is this: during the Veteran's march on Washington one (count 'em) one guy (pictured above) displayed a Confederate battle flag (know your Confederate flags) and the mainstream media pounced on the whole thing as racist. At the same time, completely unrelated, a Seattle high school suspended two juniors for wearing Confederate battle flags to school in order to protest Gay Pride flags that were there with the administration's blessing.

Several conservative outlets stepped up to defend, if not the student's decision to wear the Confederate flag (although sometimes that too), the movement against the gay pride flag. In other words, condemning the Confederate flag is apparently an assault on conservatism. 

No, really: apparently it is. For example:
This is just another instance of teachers and school administrators playing lackeys to the National GAYstapo's campaign of strictly enforced "tolerance".
What "many people take" or perceive is inconsequential. Many people are misinformed and ignorant. Some people believe that the North was intolerant of the South's right to self determination - after all, the South didn't invade the North to spread slavery. And many do not find the Gay movement in this country as exactly "tolerant". These are subjective terms.
What's Going On?
Really, honestly? This is just about free speech. If one flag (the Gay Pride flag) is legit, why not any other? Why not the Confederate flag? Certainly both are divisive aren't they? While this has gotten tangled up in the current set of events but this is all just fundraising by the Democrats. John Hindraker has the right of it: How Low Can The Democrats Sink?
To my knowledge, this person hasn’t been identified. Based on experience, he likely is a Democratic Party plant. But, in any event, who cares? Does one guy define an entire crowd, let alone an entire movement? That would not be true in any other context; certainly not if someone waves a hammer and sickle at a Democratic Party gathering. But the Democrats have no shame.
The Gay Pride thing? It's a distraction--the two getting mixed together is a construction of current events and coincidence. Nothing more.

But ... Wait ...
On the other hand, when I saw the flurry of tweets about the meaninglessness of the Confederate flag (it's just one guy! He's probably a plant! There's nothing wrong with it anyway!) and then the dust-up about the Gay Pride flag I wasn't actually surprised: I'd seen it before.

In fact, I'd seen it a few days before the Seattle incident broke in reference to the Veterans guy. It turns out that the Gay Pride Flag counter-attack has been around for a while. From a Yahoo Answers question several months ago about Richmond VA putting up a Confederate flag:
Nothing wrong with having Southern pride and enriching the heritage around it. I feel threatened when I see a Gay-pride flag.
And, indeed, VA did have a problem with the VA Federal Reserve flying a rainbow flag! The rainbow flag really is offensive to some on the right--the same way the Confederate flag is offensive to some on the left--and the Confederate flag has a lot of meanings:
I dont know about the "gay" flag, but the homosexual flag most certianly offends me. 
and I do support the flag of States Rights
So the fact of the matter is that the battle of the flags--using objections to the Gay Rights flag as a move in the 'offensive' battle-space against the Confederate Flag isn't something new or accidental--it has a long history. I wonder if those Seattle school kids knew?

Is It The Same Thing?
Is it just a free-speech matter? Are the two flags really basically identical--just on "opposite sides"? Let's check ...

Here's how we're going to do this: I'm going to toss out a few of the basic objections which are all pretty standard and you can nod along (or shake your head sadly) and go, yeah, Omnivore, we knew that. Then I'm gonna ask the real question. It's more fun this way. Trust me.

The Basic Objections
So, didja remember that big war where the GLBTQ community enslaved the heteros? Oh, YAH, me neither. If there's a simple objection it's that there was decades of actual enslavement under the side that fought under the Confederate banner and decades of public sentiment (one might even say oppression) against the group that flies the rainbow flag. That could be one reason they're not exactly equal.

They're both symbols of 'Pride' (Southern Pride--it's a thing ... and Gay Pride) or both symbols of intolerance (against blacks, against heteros). To be sure, you can find someone who's wearing those stars-and-bars 'cause they're nothin' but a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan--and it isn't hard to find some bad behavior online by a 'rainbow warrior.' But before you embrace this argument understand that someone on your side is making the counter argument: it can't legitimately be both an innocent statement of pride and a symbol of intolerance at the same time (not 'innocently,' anyway). If that's your argument it has a problem (Edited to add: You can argue that one is a symbol of intolerance and one is a legitimate symbol of pride--but if you are arguing that the Confederate flag just can't be a symbol of racial intolerance then you have to do some Olympic level mental gymnastics to even begin to justify that).

But I get to fly it! Well, you do. And hippies get to burn the American flag in dismal protest of American exceptionalism. The idea that you should defend offensive speech even though it is offensive is the ACLU's wheelhouse. As the people supporting the "they get to" argument usually don't support the ACLU (or flag burning's legitimacy under the 1st Amendment) you have to ask if they're serious about the "It's in bad-taste but this is America" argument--or if they're legit. Yeah. I didn't really think so either.

It's not okay to be divisive unless you're on the GAYstapo (in which case being outrageous is part of your whole deal)? Leaving aside who has "more power" in American society right now let's ask a different question: given that "anyone could be offended by anything" is there anything that's legitimately offensive? If you answered 'no' then, like, you're a relativist--right? A super-liberal? 'Cause that's their deal. If you answered "Yes--and it's homosexuality. Southern pride is fine." Then what about treason? Slavery? Institutionalized racism? Oh, yeah, right: it was the war of northern aggression. Got it.

The idea that these are divisive in the same way is also highly questionable: If the descendants of an enslaved population might legitimately feel divisive about a symbol of that oppression, what is the similar issue for heterosexual people who feel oppressed by the gay pride flag? Is it that they're flaunting their deviancy? Their sinful choice? What if it's just a building flying it? What current or historical wrong has happened to the group of (presumably) hetero/cis-gendered evangelicals that they're complaining about? It's not clear there is one.

The Real Question ...
Here's the real question though: Way back when the Republican party fought a war against the Confederate flag. Why are conservatives embracing it today?

But here's a solution:
When NOBODY'S Happy It's Probably A Good Sign


  1. > or both symbols of intolerance (against blacks, against heteros)

    The gay pride movement does *not* include an intolerance of heteros. It *does* include an intolerance of bigots and oppression. There's a *huge* distinction there.

    And that's why...

    > it can't legitimately be both an innocent statement of pride and a symbol of intolerance at the same time

    The Gay Pride flag is very much that. It is both a statement of being proud of your own nature (sexual preference in this case) and a statement of not-putting-up-with-bullshit from those who wish to destroy people of that nature.

    The reason it's "innocent" is because, fundamentally, being homosexual doesn't hurt anyone (regardless of what the Religious Right would have you believe). That's the major contrast between the Gay Pride movement and the southern state slavery & racism movement (which masquerades under the "States Rights" slogan). The former is about promoting human rights; the latter is about taking them away.

    1. Well, yes--but if you tell conservatives it's not about intolerance they can go on the Internet and find someone behind it being intolerant. Then you get into the "it's just that one guy thing" which may or may not convince an observer ...

      If I say the Confederate flag is nothing *but* intolerance I have to deal with the Lynyrd Skynyrd guy--which, again, is a waste of everyone's time (and, no I don't believe anyone wearing the Conf. Battle Flag JUST likes "Gimme 3 Steps" a whole lot--but proving it is difficult).

      The point, however, is that if you acknowledge that someone, somewhere has been intolerant with either flag THEN you have to ask "What exactly are you *proud* of about 'that'."

      When it's "I'm PROUD of the Confederacy ..." then you've identified the problem. When it's "I'm PROUD of my sexual orientation" ... hey, it's like those are totally different things!

  2. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about how the crowd's tolerance of the "lone idiot" was far more troubling to him.

    1. Also: they've identified the dude. He's almost certainly not a plant (yet to be tested for chlorophyl, of course, but I'm sure that's coming).