This weekend, Confederate-flag supporters in Alabama held an Irony Free Rally where people said the following with a straight face.
Standing at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps, where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led a march for civil rights, Tim Steadman said it wasn’t right to remove the flags.
“Right now, this past week with everything that is going on, I feel very much like the Jews must have felt in the very beginning of the Nazi Germany takeover,” he said. “I mean I do feel that way, like there is a concerted effort to wipe people like me out, to wipe out my heritage and to erase the truths of history.”
Mr. Steadman, I’m glad you recognize that the Nazis were the bad guys, based on your viewings of Indiana Jones films. And I suppose you never got around to reading statements Nazis made about the Jews and statements your Confederate heroes made about blacks, but do you really feel like the German Jews who were driven out of their homes, robbed of their property, and hid in attics before eventually being worked to death in concentration camps? Are you sure you don’t feel more like this lady?
Standing next to Steadman was Ronnie Simmons, who wore a t-shirt with the face of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis, who was elected as the first and only Confederate president inside the historic Alabama Senate chamber inside the Capitol in 1861, once lived a block away in the First White House of the Confederacy while Montgomery was briefly the capital.
Simmons said Bentley was a “scallywag,” referring to a term used in the years after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period to describe white southerners who collaborated with northerners.
“It’s alienating the white people in the state of Alabama when you take something down in a historic setting,” Simmons said. “If scallywag Bentley thinks he’s improved race relations in this state, he’s as crazy as a bed bug.”
There are Jefferson Davis t-shirts? I don’t think there are that many Jimmy Carter t-shirts in the South, and his eventual defeat was less ignominious.
Also, people still use the term “scallywag”? That usually only appears in the scripts of movies set in the South that were written by someone whose only exposure to the region was reruns of Dukes of Hazzard.
Sherry Butler Clayton said the flag is a way to honor her relatives tied to the Confederacy.
“I have many, many ancestors,” she said. “A lot of them are in unknown graves up North where they died on the battlefield. A lot of them came back maimed. And it’s just a way. I don’t hate anyone. I love all people. My daughter-in-law is black and I love her and I love her family. So it’s not a black white issue. It’s a heritage issue.”
This is what I call the complete failure of integration. A black person can marry into a white family, and her in-laws can claim to love her and her family (quite the perk, it’s like the racist version of adding your relatives to your cell phone plan), but that doesn’t change their views on issues that affect the black pet… excuse me, the black daughter-in-law.
One woman held a sign that said “Southern Lives Matter,” a variation of the “Black Lives Matter” phrase that became a rallying call after the shootings of unarmed black men in multiple states.
Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t seem so racist… no, wait, it does. These people seem to forget that they don’t live in Maine or Vermont. They live in a region with a significant black population. The South is not just Scarlett O’Hara. It’s also Martin Luther King. We were chased from our homes by white terrorists shortly after the war. But it won’t happen again.