Sunday, August 27, 2006

Politics: Flag Days

Much has been made about the fact that Sen. George Allen (R-Va) used to have a Confederate battle flag hanging in his living room. Allen has long dismissed questions about this with the explanation that it was part of a flag collection. However, recent revelations suggest that the "collection" may actually have only consisted of two flags - the Confederate flag and the U.S. flag.

Be that as it may, I really don’t care if George Allen had a Confederate flag hanging on his wall when he was a young man. I'd be a hypocrite to say otherwise, as I had a Confederate flag hanging on my wall in high school and through the first couple years of college. To me the flag was simply a symbol of regional pride and heritage. So, the mere fact that Allen similarly owned and privately displayed a Confederate flag 20 or 30 years ago does not automatically mean that he is or was a racist.

However, I would feel a lot better about Allen’s flag history if he had simply explained it, as I do, as a symbol of Southern (not white, Southern) pride. That would admittedly be a bit tough to swallow considering the fact that he was born in California and never lived in the South until he transferred from UCLA to the University of Virginia as a sophomore in college, but it would be a lot less suspect than the apparently bogus flag collection story. But, that's his story and he's sticking to it....

Back to my flag - one day I returned to my dorm room and found that the flag, while still hanging on the wall, had been torn into four pieces. A few of my fraternity brothers who hailed from north of the Mason-Dixon came in laughing, and took the opportunity to remind me that the North had won the war. I took the hint and that was the end of my Confederate flag-hanging days.

What I really want to know is, what was up with George's pin?


Waldo Jaquith said...

Actually, this was not when he was a young man -- there's no chalking this up as youthful error, or anything like that. He was married, with children, living in Earlysville and serving in the House of Delegates.

Wags said...

Maybe he was confused and thought he was a Delegate from Mississippi?