Opinion: The Confederate flag is anti-American

Besides the racism and offensive the flag holds, it is also a symbol of treason

The Confederate flag billows over the South Carolina Statehouse, it was not removed until June 2015 by a state bill.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Confederate flag billows over the South Carolina Statehouse, it was not removed until June 2015 by a state bill.

Today many people in the South still fly the Confederate flag to proudly represent their history and honor the past. These same people proudly fly the American flag next to the Confederate flag. Yet these two symbols directly oppose each other. 

The Confederate flag is a symbol of violence, oppression, and treason and should not be honored. 

From 1861-65, the Civil War raged on. With over 800,000 dead, it was by far the bloodiest war in all of America’s history. The South wanted to secede from the North and would stop at nothing. It wasn’t until 1865 that they finally surrendered with much of the South burned to the ground. Though the Confederacy was never declared treason in court, it is the very definition of treason defined in Article Three of the Constitution

It’s one thing to remember the past; honoring it is an entirely different story. 

The South wanted to secede for many reasons, mainly concerning slavery and states’ rights. However, even states’ rights were linked to slavery. They wanted to own slaves while the North did not, meaning the conflict over slavery mainly caused the Civil War. Slavery was a horrible institution. Not only was it incredibly brutal and harmful to people, cultures, and nations, but it was also racist. The Confederate flag represents that racism. 

The racist values of the Confederacy go against the principles of the Constitution as “all men should be created equal.” Even despite the Constitutional Convention compromises such as the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Electoral College, and slavery allowed in southern territories, the South was still displeased.  

The Confederate States refused to adapt to a changing world that was rapidly eliminating slavery. Even after the Civil War, the US made compromises to the South during Reconstruction resulting in Jim Crow laws and the tolerance of the KKK, which was started months after the Civil War ended. Not until 1965, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, did we finally end these racist laws. It is long past time to outlaw the Confederate flag, a symbol of this racism.  

Now the Confederate flag has been claimed by the alt-right. It’s commonly displayed next to the swastika in their rallies. Instead of representing a rebellious, treasonous group (though still racist), the new ideas symbolized by that flag are ones of pure hatred and even represent fascism.

Many people in the South still proudly fly the Confederate flag, to honor their past, when really they’re honoring racism, treason, and now hatred. 

The Confederates were rebels to the United States the same way America was rebels to Britain in 1776. However, America won the war against the British and established a nation that was able to progress. The South, on the other hand, lost. The people who fly the flag today romanticize the idea of the failed Confederacy, frozen in time in the 1860s, and the racism associated with it.

Today even in certain states such as Alabama and Georgia, people can request a state-issued license plate that features the Sons of Confederate Veterans logo, which incorporates the square Confederate battle flag. The Confederate flag, up until a few years ago, was flown at several state capitols. 

The Confederacy and what they stood for is an important part of America’s history; however, it should not be honored or allowed to be shown anywhere but museums.