Confederate Sandwiches Matter

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Change Comes Hard Chap. 824: Foiled in their attempts to remain in the slavery-amenable 19th century, a group of Confederate flag enthusiasts took to the defiant air with a banner-trailing small plane to protest a Richmond, VA. rally by local activists with Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality against an international bike race route they charge wrongly celebrates the oppression of black people in this country. The Virginia Flaggers argue the chosen route rightly allows everyone to "admire the stately monuments (to) our Confederate Heroes," which is why "we will not sit by quietly and allow the attempted destruction of our history."

The Defenders march was aimed at challenging the city's decision to make Monument Avenue - sprinkled with statues of key Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson - a key route of the the UCI Road World Championship, the largest athletic event in a city that is almost 60% African- American. Activists have also questioned proposals by city officials to build several new projects on former slave sites. They charge both the race route and other sites lie "in the crosshairs" of the country's current debate "about how we understand and memorialize the painful legacy of slavery... We want to tell the world that Richmonders do not support showcasing these...symbols of the oppression of Black people (to) a world audience." A spokesperson added the route could at least have included " the one black person memorialized on Monument Avenue who actually fought racism: Richmond tennis champion and anti-apartheid activist Arthur Ashe.”

The Flaggers, who are "dedicated to the promotion of and education in flagging as a way to protect and defend all Confederate heritage," argue that the activists are "an extremist group" who are exploiting unrelated shooting tragedies "to cast aspersions on our Confederate Veterans, force their lopsided, uneducated, politically correct view of history on all of Richmond's citizens...and further divide us and stir up trouble where none exists." For months, they have also been coordinating roving nighttime Monument Patrols to protect the honor of their beloved Confederate statues. They vow to continue to do so, "and are ready and willing to meet any and all calls for removal of these priceless treasures with the same fortitude, determination and perseverance shown by our ancestors some 150 years ago," when they were defending their "right" to own black people.

The flaggers clearly considered the flight of the little plane trailing its Confederate flag and revelatory banner a major victory. They trumpeted on their blog afterwards, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" - evidently believing that phrase remains untarnished in our nation's history - and headlined the story, "Confederate Air Force Takes Flight in the Capital of the Confederacy." It was only later they learned their vital missive was misspelled: Instead of reading "Confederate heroes matter," it said, "Confederate heros matter." No biggie: A spokesman attributed it to "pilot error," insisted their message got across, and revealingly added, "I don't think half the people even knew he messed up." And their fellow-flaggers loved it. Exclaimed one, "I bet (those silly commies) didn't miss that show and couldn't take their eyes from the sky. Showed those ignorant protesters..." Besides, across town supporters were busy buying Confederate flags, t-shirts and stickers at a festival dubbed Field Day of the Past. Yes, well. See, that's the problem. That was then, this is now. No more slavery, people; nothing to see here, time to move on. Please.

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