Hate, oppression should never be celebrated

Published 10:38 am Thursday, June 25, 2015

Symbols are a tremendously powerful part of our world.

A cross immediately evokes faith. A swoosh brings tennis shoes to mind. A bell silhouette still personifies a telephone for most people. And much like the swastika symbol that was forever tainted by the Nazis, the Confederate flag conveys a message of hate, oppression and racism to many Americans.

The tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last week has brought this decades-old debate back to the forefront. Efforts are underway to remove the “Stars and Bars” flag from South Carolina’s government offices and the Mississippi state flag, among other areas of our culture.

Opponents of this move argue the flag is about heritage and history.

I’m not buying that and I don’t think the American public is either.

For most people, the flag symbolizes hate and racism. Such a widely held perception becomes reality.

The flag has one goal: celebrating a culture that elevated one race over another, treating an entire people as property.

Some say now isn’t the time for the flag debate because it takes advantage of the tragedy. That, too, is flawed thinking.

Racism was clearly the motivation for Dylann Roof murdering nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. And he used symbols like the Confederate flag to fuel his hatred.

Ultimately, it is never too late to right a wrong. Now is time to take the flag down from government offices or entities.

For me, there is a sole flag above all others: the red, white and blue one that I love as an American.

Continuing to allow branches of a government that was built on freedom and equality to pay homage to a symbol that is viewed this way is a disgrace to our forefathers.

It does symbolize our history, however, it was a very dark part of it where a large part of our economy was built on the exploitation of other human beings.

That isn’t something I want to celebrate and our “United States” shouldn’t either.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at mike.caldwell@leaderpub.com.