CSA symbols, used rightly, promote understanding
Similarly, the state allows a specialty license plate for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, of which over a hundred have been issued, which has emblazoned upon it the flag. It is not a matter of free speech to have to offer it, the courts have ruled, and some interests want the state to stop its production; generally, if a law allows for such a plate, vehicle owners are free to request them for extra payment and if a critical mass is reached they are made (in this specific case, the additional funds go towards funding history textbooks).
But the fact is, the group’s ancestors didn’t march under the Jolly Roger or rainbow flag, but under the Confederate battle flag and that is part of the group’s official logo. Some of those ancestors were racists who supported slavery, but it’s probably a rare SCV member now that wants to put black people in bondage. To single out the flag aspect of the design that reputedly espouses hate, intentionally divorcing it from its larger context, is a disingenuous attempt to make the group as a concept conform to what the perpetrators want it to be, not what it is.
Thus, the state should continue to offer the plate, and Caddo Parish should not move the monument. Things are what they are, not what special interests wish them to be in order to advance their political agendas. Such agendas have far less value than understanding the actual meaning conveyed by the symbols in question; to paraphrase George Santayana, those who cannot understand accurately the past are doomed to repeat it.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:40