The Confederate movement lies to you

Something that I consistently find shocking about American culture is its strange obsession with the Civil War. Across the 50 states, one might find odd reenactments and museums relating to the war, and more specifically, the Confederacy. While Confederate iconography was always a strange piece of Americana, it was mostly contained in the southern U.S. states for a long time. However, efforts by Confederate sympathizers during the Trump presidency have spread the movement country-wide. The danger, however, is how the Confederacy lies to you. It does it on purpose, and as long as you wear a Confederate flag on your hoodie or backpack, you continue to fall for their act.

Since 1894, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a southern-based group with almost 20,000 members have made it their mission to alter America’s perception of Confederates. In an average Georgia or Alabama school textbook, the American Civil War is still referred to as “The War of Northern Aggression.” This is meant to be a deliberate attempt by Neo-Confederates to make the enemies of the Union seem more palatable to a general public.

One of the first steps to the end goal of an accepted Confederacy is to alter the reason for the Civil War. To make a long story short, the war was about slavery and its abolishment. That’s it. To suggest that there was another reason that the Confederacy seceded from the Union would be a blatant lie, and Neo-Confederates are well aware of this fact. That’s why in their carefully-edited history texts, the war was not about slavery, but rather “states rights.” This is just one way that they are able to use language to their advantage, as to soften the blow that comes when anyone asks the obvious question: What “state right” exactly were the Confederates fighting for? What right was so important to the Confederate states that they collectively chose to create an entirely new country seceded from America? The answer is obviously slavery, but that doesn’t seem nearly as vague as “states rights,” so it’s purposefully ignored.

The next move is to turn the Confederate movement into one of patriotism. If you see a Confederate flag waving in the wind, there’s more than a good chance that right next to it is the flag of the United States of America. Why is this? How did such an anti-American flag become so patriotic? The Daughters of the Confederacy wanted the Confederate flag to feel as American as apple pie and red, white and blue, another effort in which they succeeded. I believe that in reality, waving the Confederate flag around proudly is a traitorous and blatantly anti-American action. Unfortunately, the general consensus has adopted the Confederate flag as a United States symbol, seemingly here to stay.

While there are many other grievances that I have with the Neo-Confederate movement, I think that the most important message to leave with is that no matter how much you end up defending them, it’s never not going to be about race. The Confederates fought for slavery, and the new generation of Confederates, whether they know it or not, are fighting for the same cause.