South Carolina’s Confederate battle flag must come down. The Confederate States of America formed in February 1861. A flag nearly identical to the one flying at South Carolina’s Capitol went into use shortly afterward. The flag was not merely about regional pride. It was a symbol of secession. Regardless of what it has become to some, the flag cannot run from its past. It was born into a world where roughly a third of the nation openly rejected the United States. A third of the nation turned its back on the American flag. At its core, the Confederate battle flag is anti-American.
The nation’s reunification after the Civil War should have put an end to this discussion; 150 years later, it hasn’t. I might enjoy seeing flags from various countries. But I have pride in only one. Celebrating a flag representing a nation that abandoned the United States and killed thousands of my countrymen is obscene. There is one absolute truth: When it comes to the American flag and the flags of the Confederate States of America, just as it was in the Civil War, one cannot honestly play both sides.
B.J. Rudell, Washington
On “The Daily Show” on June 18, Jon Stewart, in commenting on the rampage at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., noted: “In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from driving freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. You can’t allow that.” That’s Virginia, and we do.
The street I live on ends at Jefferson Davis Highway, also known as Route 1. Road signs refer to it as Jeff Davis Highway. Local radio and TV traffic reporters regularly refer to it as Jeff Davis Highway.
When will Virginia rename that road? Renaming Route 1 will neither end nor transform the history and practice of racial violence in the commonwealth, but at the very least it would remove one piece of racial wallpaper from our lives.
Daniel Moshenberg, Alexandria