The official “Stars and Bars” flag of the Confederate States of America was voluntarily removed from the front of a Palestine, Texas, courthouse last week by the Sons of Confederate Veterans as the Palestine City Council met to ask Anderson County to reconsider allowing the display.
The flag was flown in support of “Confederate History and Heritage Month” this April, which the Anderson County commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of creating in March.
The commissioners’ decision to approve the flag and the celebration was seemingly well intended, but it was one that shouldn’t have taken place. The Palestine City Council was right to work to bring the flag down.
Most Southern states were founded and settled by the late 18th and early 19th century, but the Civil War only took place between 1861 and 1865.
The county could have just as easily made April the “Southern History and Heritage Month,” as more than 100 years of Southern history and culture doesn’t need to be confined to the four-year lifespan of a treasonous state that waged war against the U.S. government, costing millions of lives and untold levels of suffering.
There’s no problem with anyone celebrating the Confederate States’ attempts to secede from the U.S., but U.S. governmental agencies must not use public tax dollars, facilities or efforts to legally endorse the rebellion.
It’s highly unlikely that civil buildings or local governments would celebrate and fly the flag of foreign nations that don’t exist anymore, especially if they took military action against the U.S. or caused tremendous pain to a large segment of society.
“I asked for them to stop,” said Anderson County Commissioner Rashad Q. Mims, who voted against the Confederacy celebration month, according to the Palestine Herald-Press. “(Supporters) are trying to put Anderson County and Palestine on the map as a racist community and we are not. I just want people to stop the confusion over this.”
As Mims understands, many will undoubtedly judge the region as being racist for the confederate display.
The debate over allowing slavery – and the consequential institutional racism accompanying slave societies – in newly formed states during the U.S. in the mid-19th century was a primary factor in the cessation and rebellion of Southern states opposing the prohibition of slavery in new states.
U.S. political leaders shouldn’t continue to confuse appropriate celebrations of Southern heritage with inappropriate ones that force American taxpayers to support treasonous actions of the past, especially when those actions brought harm to many Americans.