OPINION: The Confederate flag is a symbol of treason, not ‘heritage’

Opinion graphic

These days, it seems like everything is a divisive issue. Even football, a tried and true American pastime, is on the list of things that my relatives now angrily post about on their Facebook pages.

No matter how you feel about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, claiming that doing so is the biggest dishonor imaginable to the stars and stripes is blatantly false. The biggest and most prominent disservice to the American flag is the continued display of the Confederate flag.

Yes, the Confederate flag. I can hear the collective groans as I even bring it up. If certain sections of my family were to read this, they would probably Facebook shame me and avoid me at Christmas.

The Confederate flag symbolizes a lot of things. For many, it is a symbol of white power, a reminder of a time when people thought it was okay to buy and sell other human beings. Some people, typically white Americans, believe it is a marker of Southern heritage.

But at the root of it all, the Confederate flag is a symbol of treason.

You cannot logically argue against that. The Confederacy itself was a group of people gathered in rebellion against the acting United States government. Further, the South’s secession from the Union in 1860 was ruled as illegal and treasonous by the Supreme Court.

The Confederate flag that is proudly waved by so-called “patriots” dishonors the American flag. It dishonors patriotism and it dishonors America itself. It is the call sign of the Confederate States of America, a group of individuals who rebelled against the U.S. and left the Union.

The Confederacy should have rightfully died when the Union won the Civil War in 1865 — and theoretically, it did. North and South once again became the names of cardinal directions and the U.S. became one, right?

Obviously, it did not. There is still racism in America, and the most surprising thing about the Civil War, to me anyway, is that there is dispute on what actually happened.

The war ended, people. The Confederate states shuffled back to the U.S. with their tails between their legs. The Union was victorious, slavery was outlawed and for a moment, all was right in the world.

Except for that damn flag. That flag delicately catching the wind as it blows next to the real American flag so shamefully. That flag that marks one of the darkest times in American history, where we were so completely divided by whether it was okay to treat other people like livestock. That flag that should be as offensive to us Americans as the Nazi flag is to Germans.

The next time you go out driving and the Confederate flag you attached to your truck catches your eye in the rearview mirror, think about how you’re dishonoring your country, spitting on the idea of patriotism and stomping on the sacrifices brave men and women have made to ensure freedom for us all.

Kaylie McLaughlin is a freshman in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to [email protected]

I'm Kaylie McLaughlin, the assistant news editor this semester. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnees, KS. My background focuses mostly on broadcasting and digital media, but I've always loved writing. I'm a sophomore in journalism and mass communications with a minor in French and a secondary focus in International and Area Studies. In my free time, I like drinking coffee and reading news magazines.
  • bullrun59

    There are so many embicillic comments in your uneducated “opinion” piece it is hard to know where to start. First, what exact Supreme Court ruling defined the South’s pursuit of the god-given right of Self Determination, treasonous? Specifically please? It doesn’t exist. What Confederates were tried for Treason? Exactly none. Why did FDR sign an order to have Confederates receive VA benefits and be buried at Arlington and other veteran cemeteries? Last time I looked, we don’t bury traitors in these plots? By your definition, the American flag is treasonous as it was born from the treasonous secession of America from Great Britain. Can’t have it both ways… You mention nothing of the racism that existed in the north, the fact that many union generals had slaves also and that Lincoln’s proclamation was fully three years after the start of the war and was strictly a military strategy. Your piece is a microcosm of the level of education now being taught in America. I will continue to fly my Confederate flags proudly.

    • Jeremy Ricci

      tldr: “I’m a racist and honestly, I’m not ashamed about it…except for being completely ashamed of it and hiding behind an anonymous screen name.”

      • bullrun59

        I’m so sorry you are an admitted racist…

  • goodfite

    Lincoln was the greatest tyrant and despot in American history. In the first four months of his presidency, he created a complete military dictatorship, destroyed the Constitution, ended forever the constitutional republic which the Founding Fathers instituted, committed horrendous crimes against civilian citizens, and formed the tyrannical, overbearing and oppressive Federal government which the American people suffer under to this day. In his first four months, he

    Failed to call Congress into session after the South fired upon Fort Sumter, in direct violation of the Constitution.
    Called up an army of 75,000 men, bypassing the Congressional authority in direct violation of the Constitution.
    Unilaterally suspended the writ of habeas corpus, a function of Congress, violating the Constitution. This gave him the power, as he saw it, to arrest civilians without charge and imprison them indefinitely without trial—which he did.
    Ignored a Supreme Court order to restore the right of habeas corpus, thus violating the Constitution again and ignoring the Separation of Powers which the Founders put in place exactly for the purpose of preventing one man’s using tyrannical powers in the executive.
    When the Chief Justice forwarded a copy of the Supreme Court’s decision to Lincoln, he wrote out an order for the arrest of the Chief Justice and gave it to a U.S. Marshall for expedition, in violation of the Constitution.
    Unilaterally ordered a naval blockade of southern ports, an act of war, and a responsibility of Congress, in violation of the Constitution.
    Commandeered and closed over 300 newspapers in the North, because of editorials against his war policy and his illegal military invasion of the South. This clearly violated the First Amendment freedom of speech and press clauses.
    Sent in Army forces to destroy the printing presses and other machinery at those newspapers, in violation of the Constitution.
    Arrested the publishers, editors and owners of those newspapers, and imprisoned them without charge and without trial for the remainder of the war, all in direct violation of both the Constitution and the Supreme Court order aforementioned.
    Arrested and imprisoned, without charge or trial, another 15,000-20,000 U.S. citizens who dared to speak out against the war, his policies, or were suspected of anti-war feelings. (Relative to the population at the time, this would be equivalent to President G.W. Bush arresting and imprisoning roughly 150,000-200,000 Americans without trial for “disagreeing” with the Iraq war; can you imagine?)
    Sent the Army to arrest the entire legislature of Maryland to keep them from meeting legally, because they were debating a bill of secession; they were all imprisoned without charge or trial, in direct violation of the Constitution.
    Unilaterally created the state of West Virginia in direct violation of the Constitution.
    Sent 350,000 Northern men to their deaths to kill 350,000 Southern men in order to force the free and sovereign states of the South to remain in the Union they, the people, legally voted to peacefully withdraw from, all in order to continue the South’s revenue flow into the North.

    These are just a few of the most egregious things Lincoln did during his despotic presidency. He set himself up as a tyrannical dictator with powers never before utilized or even imagined by any previous administration. During this four years of terrible war he was one of the greatest despots the world has ever known, his tyranny focused against his own countrymen, both North and South. He was called a despot and tyrant by many newspapers and citizens both North and South, until he had imprisoned nearly all those who dared to simply speak out against his unconstitutional usurpations of power. Those who disagreed with him were branded as “TRAITORS”, just as were the brave and honorable men in the states which had legally seceded from the Union over just such issues as these criminal abuses of power by the Federal government.

    • Jeremy Ricci

      ^^ tldr: “lemme justify this bullshit really quick…and totally pretend slavery never existed”

      • John Galt

        Jeremy give us a rebuttal, not just knee-jerk ridicule. Slavery is a fact, not just in our nation, but in many others. The desire of the confederate states to leave the union is also a fact, and the reasons were manifold.

  • BR

    Confederate flag! Confederate flag!
    Run for the hills!
    Scapegoat for all the country’s ills!

    Article: “The Confederate flag symbolizes a lot of things. For many, it is a symbol of white power, a reminder of a time when people thought it was okay to buy and sell other human beings.”

    Never mind that ships bearing the flags of Britain, France, Spain, the United States and several other countries brought over 12,000,000 African slaves to the New World. And not one of those ships bore a Confederate flag.

  • K-State Alum 2016

    Bravo to the writer of this piece. This is Kansas: the Free State. John Brown didn’t fight in Kansas against those Slavers from Missouri and die at Harper’s Ferry so these Confederate sympathizers can wave their flag on our soil. My Irish-American family from the North didn’t fight and die so Slavers could spit on their graves. You Slavers wanna talk about heritage? What about my heritage? What about the heritage of the millions who died in the transatlantic slave trade and the heritage of those who fought and died trying to escape the chains of this inhuman system? There are ZERO Confederate monuments in Kansas to this day. Why? Because we honor those who fought for freedom, NOT those who fought to deny freedom to other human beings.

    • bullrun59

      Nice heritage! Another numbskull… John Brown was a terrorist of his time and his actions at Harper’s Ferry was the match that lit the war. He also hacked to death (murdered) individuals without due process whatsoever. I’m sure you’re also proud of Sherman, the war criminal. What you fail to realize in your stupidity is FREEDOM is exactly what my ancestors who owned no slaves were fighting for.

    • bullrun59

      Kansas Confederate Memorial found in a 20 second search… https://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=107792

  • John Galt

    When the colonies decided to leave Great Britain, it was deemed treason and illegal by Britain. People in power never give it up voluntarily, even Abe Lincoln. He said if he could keep slavery and preserve the union, he would do it.

    Some of the southern states joined the union of states with the specific provision that if they later wanted to, they could leave the nation. But that didn’t matter; it reduced federal power and so, was not allowed.

    The Civil War is about a lot more than slavery. The northern states, have more population, controlled Congress and the Senate. They forced the southern states to buy their manufactured goods from the north by imposing import duties on such products from England. They also put export duties on cotton shipped to England, forcing southerners to sell to the textile mills in New England.

    The south was getting screwed all over economically. Most southerners had no slaves. They just wanted a fair deal, and they weren’t getting it. The South never declared war on the North, either.

    Today we are seeing similar stuff going on in Europe. With the Brexit vote passing, the European Economic Union is seeking to punish Great Britain. Catalonia wants to secede from Spain, and is being punished for it.

    I was all about preserving the power of those in Washington DC. If you look closely at most wars, they are created out of economic distress caused by one party.

    • Jeremy Ricci

      Nice revisionist history! It’s almost like slavery never even existed in your world. Good job, White Power John!

      • John Galt

        I have actually studied history extensively. It has been revised by others guilty of “political correctness”. You do realize that it was blacks in Africa who sold other blacks into slavery? And that I am accurate, just not what you like to hear.

        • Jeremy Ricci

          Here’s the cute thing, John. First, the fact that you use the term “the blacks” is more than enough to illustrate your absolute disdain for a race of people (disdain you so desperately try to disguise).

          Second, am I supposed to just take your word on the history you’ve studied? Also, am I to just take you at your word that you haven’t selectively studied pieces from different authors to extensively support your claims?

          Lastly, what has this got to do with the conversation? Are you trying to justify slavery because someone else did it first? Are you legitimately trying to say that it’s okay that we had Slavery and we should just not really care that it happens because “hey, some of these other people here sold them to us!”. Should we not aim to be better, as a people and as a country? Should we not aim to correct the wrongs we so feverishly committed for generations, even well after slavery was abolished in the United States?

          Sorry, John. The 12 years I served in the United States Army weren’t for people like you. If you have a problem with me being “Politically Correct” you’re more than welcome to come to Manhattan, Kansas and catch a Politically Correct lesson, first hand.

  • JW

    Wow…these comments are working hard to justify and whitewash secession and slavery. Jesus was white, too, I’m sure.

    Reminds me of how Lynn Jenkins wasn’t being racist when she called for a “great white hope” to defeat Barak Obama. Anyone else notice a common theme among these poor excuses for Kansans?

    Nice article, thanks for speaking a moral truth to these immoral revisionists.