Seawolf Slug: The Confederate flag: disgusting, or worth protecting?

Ho boy, the news has just been absolutely juicy for the past week or so. I have so many topics to write about!

First up was the crappy PC port of “Batman: Arkham Knight” which pushed my host to the brink of insanity. I don’t think it’s fair that a bad porting job does a better job of messing with George’s head than I do as the Earth’s lone brain slug.

Second was the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, which you can bet I’ll be writing about next week. There’s a lot of things to talk about, from the long journey that the LGBTQ community still has to take for full equality, to Facebook’s odd social experiment with the rainbow profile pictures. But again, it’ll have to wait a week.

What I want to talk about today is the Confederate flag, which I really do not want to talk about so soon after writing a whole article about the Third Reich.

So, a little history for those of you who slept through every history class in your life. The middle of the 19th century was a good time to be alive for white slaveholders, and a pretty bad time to be alive for anyone else. When the political landscape threatened American slavery with abolishment, a group of Southern states seceded from the United States to become the Confederate States of America. This led to the bloodiest war to be fought on American soil. While the rebellion was thoroughly crushed (man, we brain slugs love using that phrase), and the Union did end up abolishing slavery, this was hardly the end for those wanting true racial equality. In the Southern U.S., non-whites continued to face immense prejudice and hatred from racist Americans.

This, unfortunately, is still going on today. On June 17th of this year, nine people were shot and killed because of their race in a church in South Carolina. People on social media and news networks replied as they always did: this is a tragedy. A few people continually posted pictures of the victims to help others remember the dead. Some viewed the perpetrator as a terrorist. And while both my host and I are atheists, we both agree that Barack Obama gave a moving spiritual speech at the victims’ memorial ceremony.

But one question rose above the rest and went viral: why the hell are people still flying Confederate flags? Up until recently, big stores like Wal-Mart were still selling them, and people were decorating their cars with them and flying them with pride.

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Many defend the flag as a symbol of rebellion against an oppressive government. And while I hate the flag (as I, as a scout for the greatest empire in the galaxy, instinctively hate any sign of rebellion against oppression), they have a right to fly it, just as people have the right to fly stuff like Nazi flags and things like that. However, I still have the right to criticize you about it, and companies have the right to have the decent taste to remove it from stores.

I could say that, in George’s eyes, the flag is a disgusting sign of racism, oppression, and discrimination. And I would totally agree with him. Many in America would. But that’s irrelevant. It’s the flag owner’s right to fly it. It’s free speech. It’s in the constitution. And that’s America’s way of doing things.

However, I do believe that one company went too far in their censorship of the Confederate flag, and that was Apple, who removed any game with the Confederate flag from the iOS App Store, regardless of context. And that’s silly. If you want to take down games that promote the Confederate flag and fly it with pride, fine. But you should at least give the historical apps and games a free pass, because that’s, you know, actual history. Even we at the Slug Empire see the value of keeping an accurate record of history. And games are a valid way of doing that, even on mobile devices.

But even then, it’s Apple’s right to do that. While people on both sides of the Confederate flag argument have done some pretty disgusting things (and I will admit to siding against the flag), they have the right to say what they want to say, however they want to say it. And don’t forget that that goes both ways; if a flag offends you, speak up about it. Flying the flag after a tragedy like this (or… well, ever) is in extremely poor taste. But if a person is stubborn enough, don’t be surprised if your words end up doing nothing.