Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Rhetoric of the Confederate Flag Debate

So as you may have read, I spent time in Mexico. 6 sweet days. And when I returned, my Grandma died. It has been a very busy two weeks for me, filled with a wedding and a funeral. I'll be posting about my Grandma soon once I find more of her awesome pictures, so I'm spending a bit of time on that post before you'll see it.

When I was in Mexico, two big things blew up. First, gay marriage was passed. I'm not even going to open that can of worms. Next, the flag. I was here in the U.S. during the Charleston shooting-I did not see the explosion about the Confederate flag. The South Carolina Senate voted to remove the flag from the Capitol's front lawn. Afterwards, Walmart, Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, and Google Shopping removed Confederate related items from their offerings. TV Land pulled Dukes of Hazard.  These are things that happened, and no one is disputing that.

No, the dispute is whether or not this is right. As a Civil War reenactor, I am in a unique position to protect history. I have never felt personally insulted by the flag itself, and I see that it represents heritage to some, and slavery to others. I find that dichotomy in other symbols during the 19th century. To me, a snake can represent eternal, everlasting love. To another person, that evil creature tempted Adam and Eve (also, icky!). We both exist in the same reenacting world, living in harmony side by side.

Yet this flag debate is bringing out a deeply-rooted rhetoric. I have always been interested in language; its twists and turns shape many of my blog posts. My degree focused on the study of discourse. So as this controversy unfolded I took snapshots of these debates. These are pulled from all over the internet from various sources. They are not just in one thread, not just one group or person. Please read.

****Warning: Be prepared for very strong language****

The internet is a dark, shadowy place. It's easy to type a message to a nameless, faceless audience. This debate has shown a grim sentiment crawl into cyberspace, using rhetoric as a tool. What do you think of the language used in these posts?

For my part, I've seen the bickering rage across the network, with businesses capitalizing on the debate by touting "heritage" items in an attempt to make quick cash. As a reenactor, I know the importance of the Confederate flag in terms of historical reconstruction. As a person, my heart is troubled by the hate. Hate from all sides.

I'm not posting this because I believe this country is terrible. Despite your position on the Confederate flag, one thing remains true; we live in a place where you can take a stance. As much as you have a right to say your peace, so does the next person. Freedom of speech is allowed; we just may feel the consequence of our words through the disagreement of another person. Please take that into account when engaging in this dialogue. Anyone can express the antagonistic words I listed above...

So goes the blessing and curse of free speech.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the kitten. I needed it even though I couldn't read all of the screencaps.



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