Confederate flag part of history

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill, Columnist
I was watching the news a few days ago when I saw a story on an issue that has always interested me and never fails to disturb me.
The news story was about protesters who are trying to remove yet another display of the Confederate flag from a public place. In this case the flag was a part of a display showcasing the flags of every government that had ever controlled that particular piece of coastline. Apparently, the display had offended a group of people who were now trying to have it removed.
Before I go any further, let me say this. I am in no way racist or promoting racism in ANY form. I believe that EVERYONE is created in the image of God and deserves the same rights. I do not mean to offend anyone by what I am going to say, but I know that many of you will be angered nonetheless. For that, I apologize in advance. Also, there are exceptions to every case. It is not those that I am addressing.
The flag of the Confederate States of America has been for many years an object of controversy. It is seen by many as a racist symbol, an emblem of hatred. They view it, understandably, as the remnant of a government that discriminated against African-Americans in the worst way possible. Yet if one wishes to stand against that government because of discrimination against a group, I, as a woman, should be defensive. Indeed, nearly all except middle and upper class white landowners should feel discrimination, though none to the extent of African-Americans.
However, I really see none of these things as the real issue at stake here. The issue that I see and that worries me so much is this: Can history be rewritten or hidden because it contains elements that may be offensive? The answer to that is most assuredly No, absolutely not. The Confederate government was as real a part of history as any other, and, despite the controversy it stirs, deserves the same remembrance as any other government.
I am currently reading the novel 1984 and certain elements of it remind me of this issue. I find that very frightening. In the novel, any piece of history that might be offensive or controversial is simply erased as if it never occurred. This cannot be allowed today. Simply because something is unpleasant to remember does not make it any less real. Historical accuracy must never be sacrificed to political correctness.
Yes, horrible violations of human rights were committed by the Confederate government and by many other governments. This, however, should not prompt us to hide these things, but rather to remember them even more. To keep the horrible consequences in our memories and to say to our children, "This is how it was. Never let it happen again."

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