This weekend, on the main street of my city, a group of people were lined up waving Confederate flags in their happy little protest. This upset me, not just because the flag is a symbol of hatred and hurt, but also because it was in my town. See, much as I dislike where I live currently, at least I've been able to watch the news (I say watch, but really that's just an antiquated term I use to mean digesting a thousand articles online each week like a normal person) and say happily at the idiots parading through ritualized asininity "at least they haven't gone that far here". That last shred was taken from me this weekend. Thanks guys.
I didn't grow up in the south, for which I'm grateful. I have lived in Tennessee for over a decade where I've come to appreciate a lot of things about my state, as well as come to hate several others. In many ways I treat my southern brethern as a parent arguing with another parent about whose kid it is when they're doing something stupid (brother-parents not something without precedent in the south). Usually this mentality goes hand in hand with a story about someone blowing themselves up while fishing. That's right, fishing.
However, much as I'd like to just roll my eyes at them, it's a little hard when they're out on the streets waving flags that are large enough to sail boats with. Worse yet, a couple of the people I saw were actually dressed up in confederate uniforms. That has to make for an awkward conversation at work the next day with their black co-workers (cause surprisingly only white people were lined up).
"I waved to you as you drove by me on Saturday."
"Yeah, I saw."
"You know I'm just supporting history, right? Doesn't have anything to do with anything else."
"You're still on the bowling team, right?"
And that is by the way one of the stupidest arguments regarding the Confederate flag. Its history. Your ancestor's legacy is sewn in the fabric of the flag, I understand that. The good is in there with the bad. No one is taking away your right to hold on to your heritage.
Look, when it comes down to it, your Great- (insert as many multiples as necessary to complete your ancestral history) Grandfather fought and bled for his side of the country, and his beliefs. He was also probably very proud of his testicles. And his balls are your heritage. But believe me when I say, we don't need to see his balls flying from the top of a state building.
It's okay if you want to think about what his balls mean to you and your rich tapestry of familial history. It's okay if you feel the need to pass his balls down to your children, telling stories, and reading old civil war diaries your grandfather wrote about his balls. As an American, it's even your right to fly your grandfather's balls in your front yard if you so choose. Mind you, we will all find you disgusting, but that is your right.
It's your right to look at your grandfather's testicles and see the great man who bore them through all the working and breathing and living and dying he did. But just remember, for everyone else, we just see a pair of shriveled up testicles. And frankly, it's gross.