Shadow Government

The Confederate Battle Flag Is an Affront to the United States and its Constitution

Those who work to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security in our government swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Whether in the military, foreign, intelligence, or civil services, thousands of Americans uphold that oath every day in thought, word, and deed. ...

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Those who work to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security in our government swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Whether in the military, foreign, intelligence, or civil services, thousands of Americans uphold that oath every day in thought, word, and deed.

The horrific shooting of nine people as they prayed at a Charleston, South Carolina, church last week, by an avowed racist, has reopened the debate over the propriety of flying the Confederate battle flag across the street from the state capitol in Columbia. On Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag to be removed from statehouse grounds, and lawmakers in Virginia and Mississippi have similarly called for it to be stricken from license plates and the state flag, respectively. For those who work to defend the United States and to enhance its national security, this should be an easy call.

The Confederate battle flag represents the enemies of the United States, its Constitution, liberty, and equal protection under the law. Those who would kill soldiers of the United States and destroy our Union waved it in battle. The stain of racial oppression sullied it further. It deserves no place of honor within our Republic.

That this controversy persists is a paradox. The South is justifiably proud of its patriotism and military service to America. Southerners, white and African American alike, join our military in disproportionate numbers. According to an American Enterprise Institute analysis, Virginia and New York City have roughly equal populations, but the Commonwealth has 11 ROTC programs, while Gotham has but two. The South accounts for seven of the top 15 states offering their sons and daughters to U.S. armed forces. Sadly, Southerners also shed their blood disproportionately.

Some argue that displaying the flag merely recognizes the heroism and sacrifices of Confederate soldiers, and perhaps this is true in some peoples’ minds. Yet the Confederate battle flag contradicts the very values that today’s Southerners and other loyal Americans fight and die for.

The families of the Charleston shooting victims evinced amazing grace by forgiving their murderous afflicter, even as their anguish remained raw. On sober reflection, the leaders of South Carolina, and individuals in other places where the Confederate battle flag is displayed, should meet that grace with their own — and remove the hateful symbol.

Those who serve our national security and who as President Lincoln suggested, “cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations” should oppose any further honor for a symbol of treason and oppression.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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