Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stars and Bars and Scars

Two days ago an African American NASCAR driver I had never heard of before named Bubba Wallace implored the nice folks who run that organization to ban people from bringing confederate flags to their racing events. Much to my surprise, in less that forty-eight hours, NASCAR did just that!  Their reasoning was hat they want everyone to feel welcome at any of their events - and it was damned good reasoning, too! At this moment NASCAR is busting their buttons with pride, I'm sure, at having done the  right thing; Bubba Wallace is a new American Hero. And what a spokesman he is, not just for NASCAR but for the American union. He looks like the freakin' All American Boy, which he is.

Of course not everyone was pleased by this most recent and most welcome turn-of-events. A driver by the name of Ray Ciccarelli has announced that he will be bolting NASCAR when this season is over. He claims that the stars and bars of the confederacy mean nothing to him and  that people should be free to carry the flag of their choice to any racing event in the United States. Possibly he means the Nazi flag as well but I'm willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Ray has also never won a single race, which might also have something to do with his decision. Either way, I do hope that the good old boy has a change of heart - but if not, best of luck to him.

By the way, most of Bubba Wallace's fellow drivers have come out wholeheartedly in favor of banning that awful flag - including the legendary Dale Earnhardt, Jr. This is not a solitary black guy showing up at the party, uninvited, and vomiting into the punch bowl. This movement has momentum.

Last night, in instances that were not coordinated as far as anyone can tell, private citizens all across the south took to the parks to forcibly deface or remove confederate statues. This is what Abraham Lincoln would have referred to as "a new birth of freedom". Donald Trump has been petitioned that the military bases around the country which bear the names of confederate generals be rechristened. I suppose I don't need to tell you what the president's response to that has been. He said, in effect, that he has no intention of erasing history. I suppose he has never heard of something called "history books". I'm almost certain that the old codger has never read one. We will just be forced to live with those bases in our midst until a Democrat is inaugurated on January 20, 2021. I can wait. That's relatively easy. I'm white.

Also recently vandalized were two statues of Christopher Columbus and Robert E. Lee (last night in Boston and Tuesday night in West Virginia). This is something that I support. When Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere in 1492, he and his crew committed genocide on a large scale against the native people. (FUN FACT: He never set foot in what is today called "the continental United States"). My opinion is that they should get rid of that October 12 holiday and combine Election Day with Veterans Day - a holiday where the people have the opportunity to get out and VOTE.  

Please remember this folks: those "gallant rebel generals" were not heroes. They were former officers with the Union, each of whom had sworn had sworn an oath to the constitution of the United States of America. Each of them broke that oath. They were traitors. Not one of those confederate soldiers who died in defense of dear old Dixie were heroes. They were poor fools who were duped into fighting an unjust war for no other reason than to provide a class of amoral slave owners a rationalization for keeping a system intact that forced human beings to live their lives in bondage. Since so many people in the south worked for nothing, that system of slavery, that "peculiar institution", kept those soldiers at an economic disadvantage - only none of the silly bastards were ever smart enough to figure that out for themselves. I have no doubt that most of the heirs of those soldiers will be voting for Donald Trump come November. That's just a silly guess on my part. Pay it no mind.

To my brethren in Dixie:

Most of my maternal ancestors either fought for the confederacy, or - at the very least - supported it. One of my ancestors was Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 1857 he wrote the deciding opinion for the Dred Scott case - the most deplorable and infamous Supreme Court decision in the history of that body. Nearly three years ago the government of Maryland removed his statue from grounds of the State House where it had stood for many generations. What do you think my reaction was? I didn't bitch and moan about my family's history being "erased". My reaction, simply, was this:


No, I wasn't complaining. I was out on the frontline cheering them on. And while we're on the subject of politically incorrect statues, the only statue of Robert E. Lee that deserves to stand in America in 2020 is the statue of his dead body which lies atop the sarcophagus in which his remains are interred in the chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Sweet dreams, Bobby!

What is happening in America at this moment in our history is something that - in a perfect world - would have happened one-hundred and fifty-five years ago. Long overdue, but, "better late than never" as they say. The sheer evil of the flag of the confederate army would only be surpassed in infamy seventy-four years later. Do I have to mention any names? I didn't think so.

Bubba's Wheels
There is a damned good reason why the Nazi flag is not flown anywhere in Germany today. It's a symbol of hate and intolerance (not to mention death and destruction) for so many of the heirs of the soldiers who marched to the beat of Hitler's mad drum. The confederate flag is an evil symbol to our brothers and sisters of African descent. Wouldn't you say the time has come to show them a little respect and decency? Think about that when you're on your way to Dreamland tonight.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


A Message to My Fellow White People
from The Rant, 7/26/12

This one is right on topic and it ain't too shabby.


At 10:17 AM, Blogger Oblio said...

Hi Tom... long time follower, first-time commenting. Bubba Wallace is indeed a new American Hero, and his ability to speak to the issue now enveloping our country speaks volumes about a sport we love and also NASCAR in particular (he's a great drummer, too!). It's with no small amount of irony and importance to know that he drives for Richard 'The King' Petty, a racing icon who was known to sport a peace sign on his cars when he was still competing and never took sponsorship dollars from alcohol or tobacco companies.

Like so many other American institutions, motorsports is infected with a subtle level of bigotry and racism that is endemic to the participants, much to the chagrin of my wife and I, both hard-core progressive liberal DemocRats. Every time we're at a NASCAR event, we have to shake our heads in wonder at the number of Confederate flags flying proudly alongside the American flag... wondering how these people lost their sense of historical understanding... if they ever had it. Whatever.

Our fervent hope is that now... finally... some kind of substantive change will come to this nation to help further the notion of equality for everyone, and as Bob Marley wished that 'the color of a man's skin will be of no more significance than the color of his eyes.' I ain't holding my breath.

Thank you for being a benchmark of ideas for us out here in the hinterlands!

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thanks for this, Oblio. I made my day....

"Me and my arrow. Straighter than narrow."



At 1:56 PM, Blogger Just the Facts! said...

Lee Fang tweeted an interview he had with a black man who said, “I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?... Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it’s going to be national news, but if a black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of… It’s stuff just like that that I just want in the mix.”

Why is that?

At 8:57 AM, Blogger rustcoal said...

Republicans-party of Lincoln. Lincoln-killer of the confederacy. What am I missing here?


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