Thomasville Times Enterprise

Opinion

October 22, 2013

Tea Party radicals?

— Something else associated with the "Million Vet March" on Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago jumped out at me.

One fellow who identified himself as “a proud veteran and Tea Partier” decided to show his disapproval of all-things Washington by planting himself in front of the White House with a U.S. flag, a Marine Corps flag  and a Confederate battle flag.

When photos of this scene hit the Internet, every media voice immediately deemed everything associated with the Tea Party — and thusly the conservative political side of the aisle, in general — as “radical” and “racist.”

I sighed out loud.

See, for me, I totally understand the symbolism and what the guy was trying to say with his display. The last real effort to form anything different in regard to how our government was going be a part of American life was 150 years ago, and it happened under that battle flag. So it does make sense that someone wanting to display their displeasure with the government would use that flag to underline their point.

The problem, though, is that the true meaning of that flag has been irreparably damaged to the point where trying to use it sincerely for such a purpose is going to be next to impossible.

Trust me. If anyone knows something about this it would be me.

For years, I have shared pages and pages of information related to things I've learned about that flag and what it means. And at every turn I have been ripped to shreds for doing so, being called every name in the book up to and including “racist,” — even though any human being who has ever known me personally knows I am just about as far from “racist” as it gets.

Don't get me wrong. Sharing the things I've learned in regard to the Confederacy and its symbols has absolutely had a positive impact on some. One friend stopped me in the store just a few weeks ago to tell me the story of her son, who now displays the battle flag at his home and has a dog “Rebel” at least in some part due to things she had learned here and shared with him.

That we are talking about a black family will not come as a shock to those who know the underbelly of the flag’s story. For everyone else, those who know no more than what they learned in their history classes or from movies — they will simply choose to refuse to even consider such.

Regardless, the hard fact of the matter is the battle flag, a once-honorable symbol of the Confederate soldier, has been hijacked by fools with anything but honor as part of their agenda. Layering this with more complication is the fact that too many people who should've stepped up to condemn that hijacking stood by and did nothing, which further solidified the subversion of its symbolism.

But as more and more Americans throw their hands up in disgust with the quagmire of lunacy that is Washington, D.C., more and more people are going to look for something to use to symbolize that disgust.

People who know the real history behind the battle flag do not see it as the symbol of the KKK and the like. They see it as the symbol of soldiers who were fighting and dying under it in defiance of what they saw as the threat of big, out-of-control federal government.

In other words, it actually is a pretty good embodiment of many of the feelings an ever-increasing number of Americans across this nation are feeling.

But, in reality, there is no way around the here and now in which misuse and ignorance have painted it into a proverbial dark corner from which a return into the light is pretty much impossible.

 Even the Gadsden flag, the golden “Don't Tread On Me”' banner featuring a rattlesnake, is now being painted as racist and radical because of its use by Tea Partiers.

The saddest part? People in both of the established parties will use anything they can to drag any honorable purpose the Tea Party might have down into a vortex of doom, mainly because they view it as a threat to the status quo both of them have carved out that insures they will become ever fatter and partisan.

In other words, it scares them.

Think of it this way: if a group of politicians had enough guts to step away from that partisanship and openly declare a desire to find common-minded people to help them work for answers for America instead of for the established parties, I believe throngs of citizens would rally behind them — including those who are considered "Tea Partiers."

But what would happen? Both parties would label them as malcontents, insurrectionists and radicals — and if the words "Tea Party" was associated with any of them, you can be guaranteed the media would use every opportunity to use “racist” against them as well.

It doesn't matter if that might be exactly what this nation needs — people who actually care more about country than party and are willing to sacrifice personal wealth and security to work toward solutions that work for the people instead solely working for the parties.

 

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