Stars And Barred

On April 9, 1865, in Virginia, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Troops and ended the Civil War. At least, that’s what Wikipedia tells me, and they seem pretty darn professional about the whole thing.

With Lee’s surrender, our country began a new, unparalleled age of racial harmony and understanding. Gone were the days when people were judged by their skin color without any sort of social, legal or cultural ramifications. As for those who fought for an army seeking to divide the nation? They were judged as traitors and, while still allowed to live and prosper in this new tolerant and forgiving America, they would always be remembered with the blemish for the horrors the Confederacy supported as a reminder that we should never again attempt to divide the nation over the issues of race.

Oh, wait. What I meant was that, even though I live in northern Illinois, I still see dinguses with that stupid fucking confederate flag on their vehicles.

What the fuck happened?

Before we get into the meat of this sandwich, here’s an issue I’ve been grappling with for a while now.

Whenever I see a home or vehicle or shirt or tattoo of the confederate flag, my natural assumption is that the owner of said flag is kind of a dingleberry, pardon my language. My brain just goes to automatically thinking, “This person should not be listened to, and does not have an opinion that you should respect. Clearly, they are of lesser intellect and emotional reasoning. Leave them be and continue playing that game on your phone.”

I’ll admit that a lot of this started for me in high school. I grew up in a very small, very white town, and it did not escape my attention that once a few black students starting attending our high school, some of the people who had lived in the town their whole lives started putting confederate flags on their vehicles. It should also be noted that I grew up in Illinois, and Northern Illinois at that. Even if our state had dissolved into Civil War, myself and my classmates all would have been part of the north. It confused me then and it confuses me now.

I’m 41, and I just started wondering… does this make me a bad person?

Shouldn’t I want to believe in the character of a man’s heart and soul and not just the things they put on their cars, houses and skin? And what does it say about me that I’m so quick to judge people on these things without willing to have conversations about it?

Being a woke liberal can be emotionally exhausting, am I right?

All right, let me just come out and say it: I think the confederate flag is stupid.

For the life of me, I do not understand why people, let alone buildings, let alone fucking states thought it was a good idea to hang up the flag from the losing side of the Civil War. It, honestly, baffles me, and when I see people try and explain it, I can usually get through about 25 words before my vision goes dark.

First off, the racism. Do I need to say more? I don’t think I do, suffice it to say I don’t know how anyone can hang that and not understand why people think they aren’t bigoted jags. If you think you can explain it, make sure you leave a reply in the comments. I promise to not read it.

But there’s something else that has always vexed me: the South lost the Civil War (again, source: Wikipedia). Why are people so jacked to display the flag of a bunch of losing whiny losing-ass losers? There is a reason why the statue in front of the United Center in Chicago is that of Michael Jordan and not of Chris Duhon, member of the Bulls 2004 roster, which is the team with the worst record in franchise history.

As for the flags and the statues, none of the other excuses make sense to me, either. You want to tell me about remembering history? Fuck off, read a book or go to school. You want to tell me about culture? Suck my butt, put up a statue of Hawthorne. For the life of me, I just do not understand.

The good news about the last few weeks of our country burning is that we have seen growth rise up through the ashes, and it’s shown in the most unlikely places: NASCAR and country music.

NASCAR, once considered a home for racist yokels everywhere, announced this week that it would banning the confederate flag at all of it’s races, making for less racist races, which is a fun little tongue-twister. And yesterday, the band Lady Antebellum announced that they would be changing their name to “Lady A”, as the word “Antebellum” has pro-confederate associations. These seemed like reasonable decisions made by smart people who possessed a good ability to read the room. So, needless to say, people lost their fucking minds.

The Lady A fans had some of my favorite responses. Some fans pointed out that the letter A still had to stand for something, and people funnier than me suggested that it could stand for “Antifa” or “ACAB”. On the Lady A Facebook page, I saw my favorite response from a woman who said the band would “lose about five listeners because my entire family will no longer support you.” The word “about” just raises so many questions: does the woman not know how many people in her family will stop listening or does she not know how many people are in her family?

Everyone talked about the NASCAR racer who said that he wouldn’t be racing after this year. But considering that dude drove in the NASCAR truck series, never won a race, and only had one top ten finish in his entirely career, I feel like even this sentence is giving him too much attention.

The world is changing, and it is up to us to help it change. Because of this, I thought I would make a list of things I would like to see commemorated as statues to replace all of the statues of confederate generals that have been removed and torn down over the past few weeks. I feel like these could bring our nation together:

  • Mr. Rogers
  • The dude from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones who just dances (admittedly, I’ve stolen this one from Twitter)
  • Waluigi, the only major Mario Bros. character to not be a playable Super Smash Bros. character
  • Bill Wennington’s slot machine, so prominently displayed in The Last Dance
  • A series of statues paying tribute to how awesome the old Burger Time video game are

Let us being doing better as a nation.

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