The “Heritage not Hate” defense is dead.
No more cautiously tolerated rationalizations.
No more excuses.
Nine people gave their lives so the Confederate flag could finally be rendered foolproof — ’cause now even fools have a chance to drop its baggage and let it go.
To people who pretend the Confederate flag is a symbol of freedom from government: let it go.
To those who lament the slow bulldozing of Southern pride: read the writing on the 150-year-old wall and let it go.
To anyone who claims the Confederate flag is not representative of racism: let it go.
To people who say the Civil War was ages ago, Charleston church gunman Dylan Roof was last week: let it go.
To cultural identifiers proud of Dixie, resistant to change and mad as hell: let it go.
To Southerners who blame haters for turning people against their colors: give us a break and let it go.
The Confederate flag is far more aligned in the national consciousness with hatred and murder than the Southern exceptionalism its champions insist it deserves, and now even misguided believers have a chance to let it go.
Some won’t, of course, but they’ll stick out like sore thumbs before they grow weary of being written off as subhuman. Holdouts will hang on and wither on the vine of hatred, leaving only monsters to defend it. And monsters can hide only in monstrous conditions.
Americans are tired of the martyrdom claimed by crybabies who bemoan how much has been taken from them: (white) family values, the narrowest possible definition of marriage, sports team caricatures, jobs, First-world English, double standards, the ability to stereotype, etc. And it’s encouraging to see those who defend the Confederate flag rapidly being replaced with wave after wave of better-informed youth. There will always be idiots, but suddenly the job of Confederate apologist just went from difficult to dastardly.
Distortions and pathology are the products of what was long ago made of the Confederate flag, colors stitched together with the least productive of American ideals.
To anyone who has ever argued on behalf of that flag, its place in modern America, or in history, I say:
The Confederate flag is a straightjacket.
Let it go.