If after 150 years we're finally going to consign the Confederate flag to the dustbin of history and to the exhibit cases of museums, we have to make sure we bury the entirety of what that flag stands for as well. It is too late to bring the traitors of 1861 to justice, but surely we can stop treating them as perverse heroes, and we can start calling the Confederacy what it really was.
Discomfort with history means that for the most part we as a country have allowed clouds of spun sugar to wrap around ugly truths. The young man steeped in racist ideology who murdered nine people in Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston last week has forced the nation to confront that complacence.
Gov. Bentley probably wanted to have a legislature vote but wouldn't get much support from the conservative politicians. Some say, "Let's vote on the Confederate flag," but given the failure of prior referendums and the angst from the state debate over that issue, Bentley reasoned that it just wasn't going to work in Alabama.
Southerners claim a deep allegiance to the good old United States of America, but ironically celebrate their ancestors' efforts to dissolve the very union of states whose flag they now so proudly fly. You cannot simultaneously love the United States and love the idea of dissolving the bond between states that constitute the country.
When I was a scout on my first camp-out, each boy in the troop was assigned a task; some scouts were in charge of the food; some took care of the large canisters of Kool-Aid and water; some helped with tent raising; and others, usually at least one older boy along with a couple of younger scouts, were in charge of the fire pit.
When SC Sen. Lindsay Graham was asked about the Confederate Stars and Bars continuing to wave on State House grounds, he explained its presence is "part of who we are." History is certainly part of who we are. But it is long past time to stop romanticizing the past represented by the Confederate flag.