Apparently, Trump’s people aren’t as cool with the Confederate flag as a number of rally goers in Kissimmee, Florida, thought that they were. When several rally goers hoisted the flag, Trump’s security moved in and convinced them to take it down.
It’s optics; that’s the only reason I can think of, but really, it’s far too late for Trump to be concerned about the way he appears to independents and moderates. However, after the rally, the man who hoisted the flag, Brandon Partin, explained to CNN exactly what he was thinking when he raised the flag.
Spoiler alert: not a whole lot.
There’s no love lost between me and the Confederate flag. I have about as much respect for that flag as I do the flag of Fascist Italy. But there’s a subset of Americans who are absolutely infatuated with the thing, and when asked, you’ll hear something about “heritage” and “history” or something.
I mean, there’s “heritage” and “history” behind the Nazi flag, too. It’s not history or heritage worth celebrating, but it’s there all the same.
Trump has made a habit of appealing to these people over the course of his campaign, using white supremacist rhetoric (when his rhetoric makes any goddamn sense at all), and this particular flag has loomed large in the political conscious since the racist attack in South Carolina that killed nine parishioners.
Whatever he might think, Trump certainly gives the impression of being okay with it, and that’s what inspired Trump fan, Brandon Partin, to raise that flag, with the phrase “Trump 2016,” on it during a rally in Kissimmee, Florida.
When asked why he did it by CNN, he gave this response:
Most people in our country don’t understand the full history behind the flag. So, I understand that the media and a lot of other people are going to turn it into something that it’s not, you know, say that it’s a racist thing or, you know, white supremacist. I am not a white supremacist. And it was about the North and the South. It wasn’t about racism at all. The North had African-Americans fighting for them and the South had them for them, too. So for people who spin it in that direction is just completely false.
…I think that on a personal level between my beliefs and Trump’s beliefs, I don’t think he would have a problem with it at all because he probably understands the history and that’s why we’re all here.
The South literally committed treason. You can dress that up however you want to, but they committed treason. They attempted to destroy the country. They were an enemy state. You cannot claim to love this country while flying the flag of an enemy state. Nationalism does not work that way.
I understand the full history of the flag. Do you know what it actually represents?
It represents a class of poor white people who were and still are being taken for a ride by the plantation aristocracy, and who were suckered — yes, suckered — into thinking they’re ‘superior’ to black people because of the color of their skin. A class of white people poor as the dirt they lived on, who had no other options, but fell for the ruse that they were superior, because it gave them purpose they couldn’t give themselves by working to help the slaves and to overthrow the plantation aristocracy.
It says, “Look at me, I’m proud my family could be useful idiots to the Southern Aristocracy, who used them like tools and threw them away.”
That mentality — the useful idiot mentality — never really went away, either. It’s still alive and well in the south. You can see it with their resistance to labor unions, which only helps the wealthy. You can see it in their constant fight for a weaker federal government, which only opens the door for more unchecked aristocratic and theocratic interference at the state level.
And because the entire south was built on slavery — from economics to the social order itself — when they say they were “fighting for a way of life,” they are admitting, however obliquely, that the slavery was the issue. And where there’s slavery, yes, there’s racism. So yes, I don’t care if there were Africans who fought on behalf of the South, that flag represents slavery, racism, and a particularly nasty feudal system that rightly deserved being burnt to the ground.
Which makes it all the more of a shame we never finished the job.
Feature image via screen shot