Texas Confederates
I was very disappointed to see in the NYT that Texas has refused a specialty license plate to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  My great-grandfather fought under the Confederate flag; I think I should be able to memorialize that fact if I want to.  The Confederate flag is not a symbol of hate; it symbolizes the bravery and camaraderie of those who fought for the Confederate states, about half of the total United States at that time.  This was not a small group of malcontents.  It was a large political and military grouping that for a while had a chance of defeating the Union forces and creating the Confederacy as a separate nation.  Of course, there were serious repercussions to the Southern loss, brought home by the harsh Reconstruction imposed by the North after Lincoln's assassination.  After Reconstruction there was a mending of the animosity between the North and the South, but now that animosity seems to be returning.

I don't mind if blacks or Union descendants want to commemorate their hardships and victories, but I don't think they should prevent Confederate descendants from commemorating their ancestors' hardships and losses.  History is written by the victors, but the United States is not supposed to be like the old Soviet Union of Communist China.  The US is supposed to preserve freedom of expression.

In a way this license tag case is a minor case going before the Supreme Court, but it illustrates trends in today's society.  One hundred years ago, the problem was discrimination by whites against blacks.  Now we find blacks leading discrimination against whites.  It's understandable, but not good for the country, witness the animosity flaring every day in Washington.  The United States may be edging back toward the same depths of disagreement that almost destroyed it in the 1860s.  While blacks in Texas are attacking whites for wanting to display the Confederate flag, a significant number of Republicans are attacking President Obama simply because he is black.

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