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


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 opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.