There was recently an article in The Guardian entitled “Pride and Prejudice? The Americans Who Fly the Confederate Flag” that is worthy of attention. As much as I loathe the Cotton Kingdom’s Confederacy, that evil cause for which I was fool enough to sacrifice my life, some champions of its flag (well, the flag everyone has come to think of as the Confederate flag!) make points that should not be dismissed. Although some of them just spout all the usual silly nonsense about the war being fought on behalf of state’s rights rather than slavery (yeah, sure—what a coincidence that the first states to secede and join the Confederacy were the five states dominated by King Cotton and its need for slave labor), as one woman was quoted as saying, “It was poor white Southerners who fought in those battles, being strung along by rich, property-owning whites who banked on the ignorance and arrogance of poor whites to fight and die in the war. They gave their lives, but for what?” You go, mama, I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Having served as an officer in an army in which the saying “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight” was commonplace, in good conscience I can’t ignore this issue. Throughout history wars have been fought by the lower classes for the betterment of the upper classes, but the Confederacy—with poor dirt farmers fighting and dying on behalf of the economic interests of the Cotton Kingdom—was unquestionably an extreme example. I don’t know if people should be forgiven for their ignorance and arrogance, but I forgive a lot of these people for defending their ancestors—even if I myself wish the flag and every other vestige of the Cotton Kingdom would be cleansed from the earth.