politics and the “confederate flag”

I find myself in disagreement with much of what politicians from both sides say, often because what they’re concerned with isn’t as much taking care of the American people, but rather taking care of themselves.

However.

Mike Huckabee said something I actually agree with. When questioned by somebody on whether or not South Carolina should stop flying the “Confederate flag” over its capitol, he said – and I quote – ““Everyone’s being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president.”

Chuck Todd (who I cannot bring myself to call a journalist) pressed him for a different answer, which Huckabee denied him.

Let’s get something straight. What, exactly, is the “Confederate flag”? If you mean “Confederate flag” in the same way that you mean “Albanian flag,” then it’s the flag of the Confederacy, aka the Confederate States of America. I’m not going to post graphics here, but I’ll describe the actual flag(s) of the CSA for you.

There were three national flags for the CSA.  The first was not unlike the standard USA flag; it had a blue field with a circle of stars (representing the states of the CSA), plus three wide stripes – two red & one white.  The second CSA flag was pure white, and in the top left corner where the blue field/white stars would be on the USA flag, it had the familiar square red background with the blue X and white stars that people associate with the Confederacy.  The third national flag of the CSA was just like that, but with a vertical red stripe flush right – this one was called “the blood-stained banner” to set it apart from the “stainless banner” with the all-white field.

What most people refer to as the “Confederate flag” – the square red flag with the blue X and white stars – is not the CSA national flag and it never was. It was the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.  If you make it rectangular instead of square, that was the battle flag of the Army of Tennessee. Whether it’s square or rectangular, this flag is often mistakenly referred to as the “stars and bars.” The “stars and bars” is actually the FIRST flag of the CSA – the one with the circle of stars and the three stripes (or bars) on it.

Let’s get back to Huckabee. He’s right.  Whether or not South Carolina flies the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia over their capitol or not is an issue for the people of South Carolina.  It is NOT an issue for ANYBODY running for president of the ENTIRE nation.  Somebody running for governor of South Carolina? SURE!  President of the country?  HELL NO.

What these so-called journalists like Chuck Todd are trying to do is divide the American people and sow more hatred and divisiveness than we already have.  By drawing attention to this non-national issue, these assholes with media credentials are simply baiting candidates, trying to get them to say something controversial so the media can boost its ratings with salaciousness rather than discussing issues that actually affect real Americans.

Now let’s get back to the issue of whether or not South Carolina should be flying the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

There’s a state in southeastern Germany called Saxony. In Saxony is the city of Dresden. In the 1930s, Saxony was a hotbed of National Socialist activity, but (like South Carolina) Naziism wasn’t the only philosophy around – it just happened to dominate because of the prevailing attitudes of the times.  You know they flew the Nazi flag (red background, white circle in the center, with a swastika on it) everywhere.  The war ends, the flags come down. Nowadays, there’s a strong neo-Nazi movement in Saxony… but you don’t see Saxony flying the Nazi flag, now do you?  No, because not only is it illegal to do so in Germany, but the reason it’s illegal to do so is because it’s a well-known symbol of hatred and racism.  Nobody in Germany pretends that the Nazi flag isn’t a symbol of institutional racism (“heritage”), and nobody pretends that it isn’t part of their history.

Yes, I am comparing Nazi racists to South Carolina racists.  Racism is racism no matter what your social or political reasons for it are.  The Nazis aimed their racism at Jews, some people in South Carolina aim theirs at blacks.  It’s still racism.  Saying the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is “just a symbol of heritage” ignores the history.  Think what people all over the world would say if Saxony started flying the Nazi flag in front of its governmental buildings in Dresden and said, “It’s about our heritage.”

The USA government should not butt in on this issue. Yes, the German government did, but they’re socialists.  We’re trying really hard not to be socialists, so let’s leave this as a state issue and listen to the Libertarian in me that says the US gov’t should not involve itself in this issue.

Any flag of the Confederacy represents both heritage and history.  Artifacts of history belong in a museum.  Artifacts of heritage, especially when that heritage is racist in nature, belong only in our memories.  They do not belong prominently displayed over the capitols of our states. It’s time to retire the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia to the museums, where we can reflect on its heritage in the context of its history.

Fist

letter to the editor of Airmail and the board of the Airheads Beemer Club (ABC)

Letter to the Airmail Editor
From Wes Fleming, #3120

Re: June 2015 issue and the apparent feud between the Editor and Joe Glowacki

The kids today, they have this acronym they use whenever they’re perplexed by something. Like “dude,” it’s a catchall for a variety of emotions and reactions, and it can be applied to many situations.

Even though I’m not a kid – though many Airheads might consider me so at the tender age of almost 46 years old – but after reading (eagerly, from cover to cover) the June 2015 Airmail, I have to invoke the kids.

WTF!

While I think many of us can figure out what that means, I’ll relay the kinder, gentler version – WTH, or What The Hell! As in WTF is going on between B. Jan (Hofman) (editor) and Joe Glowacki (chair)?

When I opened the June issue and started reading, I found myself quickly confronted by five (5) – FIVE! – pages of Editor Hofman defending himself and blaming current leadership for spending/cash flow problems. I wasn’t aware until that moment that the editor received a stipend at all.

After perusing the Board of Directors Minutes covering meetings from September 2014 to March 2015, I found myself asking myself WTF have I gotten (back) into? People getting removed from their positions and booted from the club? Disappointing to say the least. I’d also like to know where the financial report mentioned in the November meeting minutes is – the comment “upon the submission of his report” is vague, and there’s no further mention of that report. If finances are an issue, then where is this report and why hasn’t it been made public?

The capper, though, is page 17, on which Chairman Glowacki makes aspersions against Editor Hofman and lays out a pay schedule that (apparently) clearly shows that the $1,000-a-month stipend schedule isn’t what’s being paid to the editor at all. I’m pretty sure $1,000 a month means $12,000 a year, and the $16,688 paid in 2014 isn’t $1,000 a month. Now, of course, there could be other expenses built into that amount (and the others) that aren’t being relayed, but that’s beside the point right now.

First of all, I don’t know nor have I ever met Mssrs. Hofman or Glowacki. It’s clear that Glowacki has no fucking clue how much work goes into the production of a monthly magazine – even one of just 24 pages. A thousand dollars a month is a paltry sum, a mere drop in the bucket, for doing a job with relentless deadlines and little in the way of thanks.

Having said that, for $1,000 a month, I definitely expect a higher-quality publication. Pages 2-11 of the June issue could have been laid out by my 13-year-old daughter using Microsoft Pages. While this reflects the club canon “Airheads believe that the simplest [engineering] solutions are best,” there’s no reason to pay somebody (anybody) even 12 grand a year for this kind of amateur product. I’m not generally one to toot my own horn, but in this instance, I’m going to do just that and encourage every Airhead reading this to visit the website for the BMW Bikers of Metropolitan Washington and check out a recent issue of Between the Spokes, the monthly newsmagazine that I produce for the club – AS A VOLUNTEER. I know exactly how much work goes into releasing a monthly publication at the club level and I know what an amateur in his off hours can produce with some dedication and effort. I’d gladly take $1,000 a month for the work I do for BMWBMW, but because I care about my club, I stepped up as a volunteer and receive no payment whatsoever.

I let my ABC membership lapse for a long time, and when I came back, I find the ABC in turmoil. It’s one thing to see this kind of crap on the Internet, where you expect trolls to go after each other, but quite another to see it in our signature publication.

Reading this issue, I find that the club’s leaders are violating several canons, to wit: “Airheads appreciate function over form, fact over fiction, and friendship over friction,” “Airheads regard money as a tool, not a status symbol,” and “Airheads don’t take themselves, religion or life too seriously.” This issue is filled with fiction (Hofman and Glowacki can’t both be right, can they?), friction, money issues, and Airheads taking themselves far too seriously.

It may be indifference that kills publications, as Hofman writes on page 5, but controversy is what kills clubs. B. Jan Hofman and Joe Glowacki are killing the ABC, and they’re doing it in the pages of Airmail.

Everybody involved in this kerfuffle should be ashamed of themselves and given just my short exposure to what is clearly an internal power struggle, it’s clear to me that the best solution is for EVERYBODY involved to switch from German to Japanese traditions and fall on their sword. I’m calling for the Editor and all current Board members to RESIGN, followed by a snap election to seat all-new Board members and a new Editor as well.

Sincerely,

Wes Fleming, #3120, Fairfax, VA

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