But it’s always a shame to waste a good crisis, and merely taking down one flag would indeed be a waste as far as many are concerned. The recent purge started with various private entities deciding to divest themselves of any association with the flag - the General Lee lost her distinctive top, (both the toy version and the real thing), and various retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and EBay, decided that they would no longer carry any merchandise which included the flag.
The wave then moved on to Congress, which ordered the removal of all confederate flags from all federal property, including private flags brought into federal cemeteries.Momentum to eradicate public displays of the Confederate flag continued to build Tuesday as more retailers and online marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay, joined Walmart to remove rebel-flagged items from their shelves and websites.
After Walmart and its 11,000 stores led the way Monday night by sweeping from shelves any product bearing the Confederate battle flag, retail giants Sears, Amazon and eBay followed suit.
"We believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," said eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff.
The issue is unlikely to die there, as Speaker John Boehner has called for a commission toThe House has voted to ban the display of Confederate flags at historic federal cemeteries in the deep South — a low-profile move that prompted an outcry from supporters of the flag.
The vote to ban the display of the flag at the cemeteries came Tuesday evening after a brief debate on a measure funding the National Park Service, which maintains 14 national cemeteries, most of which contain graves of Civil War soldiers.
The proposal by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., added language to block the Park Service from allowing private groups to decorate the graves of Southern soldiers with Confederate flags in states that commemorate Confederate Memorial Day. The cemeteries affected are the Andersonville and Vicksburg cemeteries in Georgia and Mississippi.
study all displays of the flag and confederate monuments, including the Mississippi state flag, and statues of various confederate leaders that adorn the Capitol. (As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this appears to be a very bi-partisan issue - while some Republicans privately grumble, virtually none are willing to cast votes against any of these measures, and the Republican leadership appears nearly as committed as the Democrats are.)
Nor is this limited to the national stage. In Memphis, the city council has initiated the first step in a process to have Nathan Bedford Forest's remains relocated, and the statue under which he is interred moved from Health Science Park. (the park itself used to bear his name, but that was changed a few years ago)
In New Orleans, the mayor has called for four Confederate monuments to be labelled as 'public nuisances', which would legally allow for their removal, even going to far as to use the term 'false valor' when referring to Confederate soldiers.On Tuesday evening the Memphis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest’s remains from under his statue in the Health Sciences Park on Union Avenue.
“It is no longer politically correct to glorify someone who was a slave trader, someone who was a racist on public property,” said City Council member Myron Lowery.
In what is probably the most extreme call to action thus far, Professor Nick Bromell has called for the display of the Confederate flag to be recognized as a hate crime, and punished accordingly, although to be fair, I don't really know what that means in a legal context. (He equates it to the Nazi Swastika, but as far as I know, the US government doesn't punish you for flying those, either.)New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday joined Southern leaders in officially renouncing Confederate symbols that appear in public spaces around the city and state.
Landrieu formally asked the New Orleans City Council to start the process to remove four statues erected to honor Confederate leaders from their prominent positions throughout the city. The request follows Landrieu’s call for discussions and public hearings on the monuments in the wake of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Landrieu also requested the Jefferson Davis Parkway be renamed to honor Dr. Norman C. Francis, a prominent Civil Rights leader who served as president of the historically black Xavier University.
While I definitely believe the flag should have come down from the SC capitol building, and I can't fault retailers for making decisions about what they will and will not carry, (even if I think Apple is stupid for banning wargames with Confederate flags in them) I am left wondering if we aren't getting a little too zealous in our attempt to clean up history. Nor do I think that Confederate soldiers are any less deserving of honors than their Union counterparts. Certainly, the cause they fought for was flawed, but then, most causes are. It is difficult to defend Vietnam or Iraq as anything but horrible mistakes at best, or murderous frauds at worst, but that does nothing to diminish the valor or bravery of the soldiers we sent to fight and die in foreign lands.
I suspect this wave has a ways to go before it dies, though.