- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

The Confederate flag is caught in the cross hairs of political correctness.
As far as symbols go, the flag represents a place that no longer exists, except in the hearts and minds of those who seek to celebrate their heritage.
This apparently is too much bear amid the squishy sensibilities of 2001, 136 years after the fact. These, after all, are the enlightened forces of the political left and the mushy-headed thinkers who, after stroking their chins, discovered that Columbus was a very bad man and not really much of a discoverer at all.
Not surprisingly, the boat back to Europe in the '90s was not crowded at all. Being incredibly sophisticated does not necessarily mean having to leave your comfortable existence, owed in no small part to the explorer who made a lucky left turn.
In trying to airbrush the Confederate flag out of the historical picture, the forces of political correctness are employing one of the favored tricks of the old Soviet Union. History's losers lose their very being to the hard-working revisionists.
The Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is putting up the spirited fight, from New Castle in the Shenandoah Valley to West Point in the Tidewater region of the state.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, who, like any vote-conscious politician, wants to be all things to all people, undoubtedly is trying to play all ends while wishing the flap would go away.
He can run from history, but he can't hide. All he can do is stay out of the way of the state's attorney general, who is appealing the court ruling that grants the request of those who want the flag on their Virginia license plates.
Mr. Gilmore tried to find a compromise in April, proclaiming it Civil War History Month instead of the customary Confederate History Month. This semantical shift failed to quell the growing antagonism between the two sides.
The good governor is a victim of geography, stuck as he is south of the Mason-Dixon Line, in the old capital of the Confederacy. The reminders of that time are all around him, just outside the doors to the State Capitol on Monument Avenue.
The razing process, if necessary, can be started in due time. That might bring closure, the feel-good condition of these soft times.
There also is the matter of Jefferson Davis Highway, named after the only dead president of the South.
A lawyer in Richmond floated the idea of renaming the highway, at least within the city limits, which merited the lip service of the City Council. The highway stretches far enough to intrude on the welfare of the delicate-minded in Northern Virginia.
The DuPont Corp. in Richmond, caught up in the fervor, has decided that its employees no longer have the right to wear or carry Confederate symbols while in the workplace. The edict raises a number of unsettling issues, starting with Confederate-inspired tattoos instead of Chinese-inspired ones.
To be in opposition of the Confederate culture, you are obligated to practice a form of ethnocentrism. Your cause is somehow superior to theirs.
The line drawn through the Confederate flag is simple enough. Hate is the symbol on one side, heritage the symbol on the other. There is a third symbol as well. This one shows a society that is all too fat and bored, with no real battles, in the old sense, before it.
The great challenges of the 20th century great wars, great revolutions in industry, great social changes have been met.
What now?
Raise your sensitivity antenna. Look far and wide. Suspend all logic.
In Craig County, a judge forbids a Confederate flag to be flown next to a 90-year-old Confederate statue on courthouse grounds, finding the display to be an "inappropriate use of county property."
The flag, it seems, is the insult to the statue's injury, as viewed in these times and not 90 years ago.
This is not just disrespectful to the Confederate dead. This is disrespectful to the dead who honored the dead.

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