My son, a learned philosopher, says of an impending competition between two football teams he particularly dislikes: “May they play a zero-zero tie in the mud.” He made that observation before football became an indoor sport and added as many overtimes as necessary to break a tie and expose us to more beer commercials. Still, his point is a good one.
That brings me to the current kerfuffle over a war that has been over for 152 years, four months and, depending on when you are reading this, nine to 13 days. I am talking about the War Between the States or Civil War or whatever you want to call it. Just call it over. Please.
A check of the history books shows the North won, 1-0. No overtimes or beer commercials. But we have those on both sides who can’t seem to let it go. Instead of worrying about how to deal with a bunch of mindless imbeciles who hate us enough to blow themselves and us to smithereens, or equipping the next generation to compete in an increasingly complex international marketplace or finding people willing to protect us and to educate us, we are obsessing over the statue of some long-forgotten general in the town square.
Proponents of erasing all vestiges of our past point to the senseless murder of nine innocent black people at a prayer service in Charleston, South Carolina, by a deranged white kid who posted racist rants with a Confederate flag in the background. He no more represents Southern heritage than Frito the Bandito represents Latino culture.
But that hasn’t stopped them from protesting anything or anyone associated with the Confederacy. In what the Atlanta newspapers referred to as raising “highly uncomfortable questions about the selective editing of history,” the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP wants the Stone Mountain carvings of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson sandblasted off the mountain. By whom? We taxpayers, of course, even though taxpayers don’t fund Stone Mountain Park. It is self-supporting.
As I opined a couple of years ago in this space, if the NAACP and friends are really serious about selective editing of history, here’s one for them. Fourteen Georgia counties are named for Confederate soldiers or politicians. We all know how that one is going to turn out.
Before I move on, let me once again present my Southern bona fides. There has been a Yarbrough on Southern soil since 1695. My parents, grandparents and all but one great-grandparent were born and raised on Georgia’s sacred soil. Two ancestors fought for the South in the War Between the States. One was a prisoner of war. I apologize to no one for being a proud Son of the South. However, there is much more to our heritage than the Confederate battle flag and a war that will be lost forever.
Admittedly, I haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with today’s politically correct bunch of bullies who want to remove all traces of our past, but they can’t be much more belligerent than the “Fergit, Hell” crowd, aka, the state flaggers.
My experience with flaggers dates back to my days of the planning for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Flaggers were demanding that the Georgia state flag with its Confederate battle flag design be flown at all state-owned venues. The Olympic charter states unequivocally that only two flags are allowed in Olympic venues: The flag of the host country and the Olympic flag. That mattered not a whit to them. Like the NAACP knows we taxpayers don’t intend to foot the bill to sandblast Stone Mountain, flaggers knew we were not going to violate the Olympic charter to appease them.
They swore they would sneak state flags into the venues and wave them during the telecasts and dared us to try and stop them. That turned out to be so much bilge water. It never happened. The flaggers and I continued our warring ways as I began my next life as a columnist. They continued to threaten and bully and I continued to verbally take them to the woodshed. Today, the state flag has changed and I’m not sure under what rock the flaggers currently reside.
Now, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. We have a new and different set of bullies mired in the past. Will someone please tell both sides they are playing a zero-zero tie in the mud. The war is over. Get over it.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.