And Southerners only have themselves to blame, according to the historian Shelby Foote in 1970.
By Sidney O. Smith III
Presenting a counterfactual often helps one gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of history. It can shine a light on different aspects of the past not as well known and, on rare occasion, point to a path to follow for a better future. In logic, a counterfactual is based upon the conditional, “if we had known…”
Following the horrendous murders of nine Christian martyrs at Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, I would like to present to you for your consideration a counterfactual. It is derived, at least in some measure, from conversations I had over the years with a very well educated Southerner – a public servant from the WWII generation who loved the South but, throughout his career, found himself diametrically opposed to militant ethnic nationalists who waved the Confederate flag.
The gist of these conversations – and I am extrapolating – was that the “Confederate flag” (the design of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia) was a military flag and not a political one. Organizations and institutions in the past should have taken steps to ensure that it remained a battle flag that reflected the values of the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia. Such did not happen, and once the flag fell into the hands of Southern politicians in the middle of the 20th century as well as militant ethnic nationalists (from around the nation), much harm ensued both in the South and around our country.