Well, big news for the textile industry this week, as lots of orders for the confederate flag pattern have been canceled.
With Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Target and even Etsy banning the sale of anything showing the Stars and Bars, all those t-shirts, caps, bed linens, tablecloths, carpets and wedding dresses will have to be shredded or dyed.
And all because some maniac opened fire in a church.
So here’s my question: How does the collective American mind go directly from the senseless deaths of so many innocent people to a gaudy piece of cloth?
Let’s examine the logic:
Step 1: Crazy person shoots African-Americans and says he hates black people.
Step 2: Flag recalling days of slavery falls out of favor.
What the hell does one thing have to do with the other? Are we saying that the flag somehow incited Dylann Roof to do what he did? It’s really much more likely that he was driven insane by having to spell his name for people his whole life. (“Yes, that’s right. Two ‘n’s. I don’t know why.”)*
Should the confederate flag have been flying at the South Carolina Statehouse? Of course not. Not only because it basically says “This state enjoyed the good ol’ days when black people were slaves,” but also because it is the flag of another country that was the enemy of the nation South Carolina is currently part of. They might as well fly the Soviet flag–at least it would offend fewer people. The removal of the “battle flag” from government locations throughout the south should have happened years ago.
150 years ago, to be exact. When the South lost the Civil War.
Why did the act of one nut suddenly make Southern officials think, “Hmm, maybe it is somewhat inappropriate for the government to be flying that flag”?
The only conclusion I can come to is that it hadn’t occurred to anyone that one or two folks in the South were still harboring a dislike for black people. Once that realization dawned (by virtue of one of those folks violently displaying said dislike), maybe someone figured the flying of the flag implied that the government, too, would prefer a much paler overall population, or a much larger unpaid workforce.
Meanwhile, South Carolina is not one of the states with plans to discontinue the availability of license plates depicting the confederate flag, which is something I wrote about over a year ago. I guess they figure it’s less offensive in the smaller size.
And what about those retailers? Well, while it’s nice that eBay doesn’t want anyone selling these symbols of hate, it has, as of this writing, over 1,800 items on sale with swastikas.
I suppose you could make the case that Nazi stuff is World War II memorabilia, (or as eBay categorizes it, “militaria”). I guess it’s not a symbol of hate if it’s a collectible. So then shouldn’t I be able to sell a confederate flag on eBay as Civil War “militaria?” In other words, can you list a confederate flag if it’s a really old one?
I can tell you this: not all of the 2,239 items that show up when you search “swastika” on Amazon are WWII relics. In fact, most of them are new, and I’m not just talking about the ones that claim to have something to do with Buddhism (like the “Buddhist Symbol For Peace T-Shirt” pictured at left). For instance, there’s the “Playstation 4 Console Skin & Remote Controllers Skin” (pictured at right) and the “NEW German NAZI Rifle Stock Folder FM513.”
But no more confederate flags, right, Amazon?
Finally, it should be noted that Dylann Roof didn’t shoot a single person with the confederate flag.
And yet you don’t see governors in the South making any declarations for gun control. And you don’t see Walmart taking guns off the shelves. “No more confederate flag beach towels,” says Walmart. “But we’re having a sale on Remingtons.”
See you soon.
*As if Dylann with two “n”s wasn’t enough, his middle name, I kid you not, is “Storm.” If you’re going to name your kid Dylann Storm Roof, you might as while book him into an asylum while he’s young.