The reaction to an action

Published 7:43 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

There are numerous reasons why the North and the South clashed in the Civil War (1861-1865).

Perhaps the number one reason was that the southern states – mainly Virginia, both Carolinas and Georgia – were outraged that 75 percent of the money fueling the operation of the federal government at that time came from a sectional tariff imposed upon the South. Those states below the Mason-Dixon line, which were blessed with millions of acres of fertile farmland and ideal weather for growing crops, were nothing more than “agricultural colonies” to supply goods to the population centers in the Northern states.

But in the eyes of the majority, the South’s insistence to maintain its slave labor force was the reason why there was a Civil War. As the now retired District Attorney David Beard once told me, “perception is reality.”

The Confederate Flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol is about perception and reality. To the ancestors of those bound in slavery 150-plus years ago, the flag is perceived as a symbol of racism. The reality of that is it marked the ugliest point in our nation’s history, so to still have that flag flying over state-owned property is, in my humble opinion, nothing more than pouring salt into a still open wound.

That flag was raised in Columbia in 1961, marking the 100th anniversary of when the Civil War began. Ironically, it all started at Fort Sumter, SC. Its appearance then was blessed by that state’s General Assembly, and that approval has continued for the past 54 years.

Those that favor its presence in a public setting speak of that flag’s place in American History. I agree that it is a part of Southern heritage and culture, but it should not have a place on public grounds.

If the Sons of Confederate Veterans want to display that woven heritage over their privately owned and operated lodge, then so be it. If that flag is part of a museum display, then so be it. If a person freely chooses to fly that flag in their yard, then so be it….we cannot rewrite, nor should we, our American History books.

In the wake of the latest movement to have the Confederate flag at the S.C. capitol removed from display is a rash of knee-jerk reaction. The latest is TV Land’s decision to cancel all reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard” due to the fact that Bo and Luke’s famed “General Lee” (a tricked out Dodge Charger) has a Confederate flag painted on its roof. That show had nothing to do with slavery or racism, but yet it gets yanked.

Does that lead to the 2005 movie remake of “The Dukes of Hazzard” being the next to feel society’s wrath? Will Warner Brothers pull it from the shelves of Netflix and all the other movie outlets?

To tell the truth, I was more intrigued by Jessica Simpson’s outfits in that flick than I was with the roof of a car.

Will other movies/TV shows showing the Confederate flag follow suit….Gone With the Wind, Pulp Fiction, the Beverly Hillbillies (there was a scene with “Granny” and that flag)?

And to be even more truthful, what really offends me is the display of a Nazi flag. My dad fought against the Swastika in World War II. Perhaps I will launch a campaign to encourage TV Land to pull “Hogan’s Heroes” off the airwaves as well as write to Lucasfilm/Paramount and encourage that “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is never shown again.

I totally understand the reasoning behind the effort to have the Confederate flag removed from the state grounds in Columbia, SC. What I have a hard time wrapping my head around is the reaction to that action.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207. 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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