When I was a kid, back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I loved The Dukes of Hazzard. It was probably the TV show that I looked forward to the most, because it made the exploits if the Duke family seem cool, at least to a 12 year-old who had no idea about the South or even the Civil War. But I could sing that theme song about the good ol’ boys, that’s for sure.
But times have changed since the early 80s, and the Confederate flag painted on top of the General Lee doesn’t seem so cool anymore. That flag has become a symbol of “Southern heritage” for some, and slavery, racism and–let’s be honest about this–armed insurrection against the United States to many others.
I come down on the side of the latter, and I regret that slavery was so deeply ingrained in American culture that 600,000 or more had to lose their lives over it. But I’m glad that it happened, and I have no patience for anyone who romanticizes the Confederacy. Such people just don’t know their history, unfortunately.
So when Ed Markey, a congressman running to fill a senate seat in Massachusetts, decided to disinvite his friend, and fellow Congressman, Ben Jones from a fundraiser that he was planning to have, I cheered this move. Massachusetts, like every other state in the Union, sacrificed thousands of its sons and husbands, fathers and brothers during the 1860s. Those men who died, or had their lives forever altered by an amputated limb, did so because the cause of secession was–and will forever remain–wrong.
But Ben Jones and many, many others can’t see that. They rail against “political correctness” whenever the rebel flag is challenged, but are apparently unaware, or unconcerned, about the sacrifices that the Southern cause once extracted from the United States. Massachusetts paid that price, and now someone who wants to represent that state in the U.S. senate has the right–and almost the obligation–to tell an avowed Confederate sympathizer to take a walk.
Well done, Representative Markey, for honoring those who paid the highest price to put down secession and end slavery. The racial underpinnings that created the Confederacy are just as wrong today as they were in 1861. May more people wise up to that fact some day.