Donald Trump’s Confederate Flag

After the Charleston Church shooting last year Confederate Flags and iconography suffered tremendous backlash. Most notable of which was the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag (CBF) from the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Naturally, with every backlash comes the counter-backlash. One year later in the midst of a Presidential election, the flag and those that wield it have found a new ally…Donald Trump. 

A recent article at POLITICO noted the apparent correlation between the rise of the flag and the rise of Trump. The CBF and Trump have an interesting relationship. In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Trump joined many commentators on both sides of the aisle in urging the flag’s removal. Later in the year, the Trump campaign officials kicked a man carrying a Confederate Flag out of a campaign event. [Granted, Trump officials later suggested the man was a “rat,” or some sort of Democratic plant]. However, Trump’s condemnation seems to be rather short lived. Aside from allegedly tweeting  support for the Confederate Flag, Trump has remained silent on the flag issue since last year. In that time, support for Trump among the flag waving community has grown.

IMG_0938It should come as no surprise that proponents of the Confederate Flag usually fall in the neo-conservative spectrum of political ideology. More often than not, the “Southern Heritage” advocates who carry the flag run afoul of presentism, with the flag representing their current political beliefs more than history. Trump’s vitriolic message resonates with these “flaggers.” His message that America is too “politically correct,” depicts a government as corrupt, elitist, and out of touch with the American public. A message which smacks of 19th century populism. Trump’s message against political correctness is typically linked to inflammatory remarks towards minorities, women, immigrants, and the LGBT community. His bigoted statements at public rallies and on social media are almost always defended and quickly passed over. In the midst of this message, we find the Confederate Flag, casting its racist legacy over the campaign. The author of the POLITICO article states that:

That fog of meaning that inherently comes with the Confederate battle flag now is extending to Trump’s presidential campaign. For every white supremacist he retweets, every mumble-mouthed disclaimer of racists, the murk around him grows thicker.

In that respect, the debate over the Confederate flag echoes in many ways the larger debate over Trump’s candidacy. When he criticizes the judge in the Trump University case, Gonzalo Curiel, for for his “Mexican” heritage, is Trump practicing “textbook racism,” the phrase used by his fellow Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan? Many Americans would probably say so. And yet to Trump’s supporters, he’s getting an unfair rap for simply defying what they see as a PC culture that has unfairly demonized a part of their history.

Trump reassures us that “[he’s] the least racist person,” but his stances certainly attract a lot of racists to be sure; support that Trump readily accepts. It’s of little wonder that a message of hate inspires so many to wield a symbol of hate.

Yesterday at cwmemory.com, Kevin Levin blogged that he has had it with those who wield the Confederate Flag, In his post Levin stated:

I am finished with innocently approaching people who fly Confederate battle flags to inquire into their motivation. From now on I am going to assume the worst or at least that its display has nothing to do with remembering a Confederate ancestor or the soldiers more generally. In fact, the vast majority of stories that I have tracked over the past year, involving the Confederate battle flag, have nothing directly to do with history.

As long as people use such a toxic symbol in order to embrace such an inflammatory demagogue in political discourse, why should anyone assume anything but the worse?

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8 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Confederate Flag

  1. Sigh.

    We shouldn’t expect anything but the worst from a person who venerates a flag with a history of white terrorism. We should only expect, and know, that they are intentionally fanning the flames of white supremacy, and their faux outrage at America’s “Politically Correct,” culture is a simple childish reaction to their loss of perceived power and their newfound inability to insult the cultural “other” and get away with it in polite society. I always find it curious when the Confederate Quackery is the first to deride people who protest Drumpf’s rallies with flags of other nations, like the Mexican flag, without doing any self-reflection about the flag they’re so proud to display.

    Drumpf knows that the only way he can win is by tapping into the unfounded fears of white men. (NPR has a fascinating tool to show how much of the white male vote he needs: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/30/483687093/the-270-project-try-to-predict-who-will-win-the-election). He doesn’t need to disavow the white supremacists that make up his base of hate.

    The thing is: white people have real problems in the current economy. However, the GOP seems to think it can only win by acknowledging the problems of a most powerful group alone, as opposed to acknowledging that Alston Sterling’s life mattered, that the undocumented mothers being deported back to the very battlefields they fled have problems too, that the students who are under mountains of debt have problems too, etc. It is incredible to me that a person with so zero leadership skills, who is bigly ignorant, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, and can barely speak an entire sentence is the face of a major American political party.

    1. Well, since quite often Kevin in his own words stated that he didn’t think every person waving the flag did so for racial meanings. He’s also stated in the past that not every person displaying the Confederate Flag believed in white supremacy. These are things he has said in the midst of being critical of the numerous flag and heritage groups. So…I disagree.

  2. How many times do we all have to tell you this!?

    Hey um, BorderRuffian, in case it isn’t clear though:

    People waiving the Confederate Flag in 2016 do so for racial meanings.

    People displaying the Confederate Flag believe in white supremacy, even if they do not consciously utter the words, “I’m a white supremacist.”

    People who continue to insist that being proud to be a Southerner has to happen in one specific way are stupid. For example, I’m a proud Southerner. I speak/write/read Spanish fluently. I love plantains as much as biscuits. I don’t need a racist flag to show my pride, display my the entirety of my heritage (or identity crisis), or enjoy the history of the ground upon which I walk.

    Y’all need to pick a new f**king symbol, or hell a new flag! As a fellow neighbor, I beg you all to stop diluting and distilling this amazing region for some half-assed political agenda that some of you can’t own, won’t say out loud, and can barely articulate without finding yourself in a racist merry-go-round. This absurd argument about how you’re just proud to of your racist relatives because they fought to keep an entire chunk of the population in bondage, but also those people who’s heritage is bondage should stop crying about how life is unfair –THAT is part of the legacy that makes it so that people are being killed in the streets for ONLY the color of their skin.

    So, stop acting surprised that people assume you all are racist, prejudiced, historically challenged bigots, and start making your ancestors proud by growing the hell up.

  3. Treyvon

    [Edit: Sorry, did you expect your comment to appear here? I had wondered if you were ever going to come out of your hole again. As always, unless you can comment under your own name and actually contribute to conversation, then you won’t be allowed to comment. Still at the Fairfax County DIT?]

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