I suppose at this stage of life that I’m one of those rarest of birds: a post-Confederate, post-racial Southern nationalist who believes it’s time to retire the Battle Flag as a symbol of Southern identity.
Yes, I love the South, I love her people, and I love her folkways. Indeed, I will go so far to say that I’m more a Southerner than an American – the attributes that define my character and outlook are far more Southern than they are American, as strange as that may sound to some. And while I once was a committed and rather notorious Confederate apologist, I agree with one intrepid young writer that the Confederate flag is simply not large enough to contain all the complexity – all that is decent and good – about the South.
Simply put, it’s time to begin a concerted, long overdue effort to design new Southern symbolism.
And Southern identity – and I will go so far as to say nationalism, because the South really is a nation within a nation, much as Scotland and Wales are within the British Union – is by no means limited to white Southerners. Indeed, the fact that so many black Southerners evince some measure of sympathy for the battle flag underscores that Southern identity is by no means limited to white Southerners. Countless black Southerners embrace the South as a homeland – a nation within a nation – just as whites do.
I’m simply dumbfounded by the fact that more Southerners, irrespective of race, are not investing thought into building a new Southern identity that appeals to all of us.