A year ago, my high school made the national news. I'm not going to say where I go to school, but if you really wanted to, I'm sure you could find out through a quick Google search. Fuck anonymity. I want to write about this.
My home state was one of the states that fought for the losing side of the Civil War. While the Confederates' libertarian attitude was admirable, they were, ultimately, fighting for the right to own other human beings. And that's just not okay.
I don't care what the Confederate flag means to you. For one person, it could be a symbol of family and tenacity. For another, it could be a symbol of hatred and opression. That's the flag's job as a symbol; it can have many different interpretations.
For me, when you make the Confederate flag a decal on your truck, it's a symbol of immense disrespect. That's the symbol that was hung over lynchings and mock trials; it was literally a stamp for the death certificates of the hundreds of thousands we lost. To me, it's a symbol for the demons of this country's past, of the deep idealogical division that our scarred nation was founded on.
Other people don't see it that way.
Last year, a group of enterprising individuals gathered outside of my school for a protest. Students, parents, and others who had long since graduated were upset because our school doesn't allow the Confederate flag on campus.
Fully grown adults were taking time out of their workday for this bullshit.
The protest made local news, and eventually the story got a little bit of national coverage. After this point, students who joked or poked fun about the Confederate flag were swiftly threatened by the "heritage not hate" crowd. The whole thing died down after a few weeks, and all of the students involved with the protests were suspended.
Last week, our theatre department put on a play. It was historical piece about the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner that was forced to carry Jewish passengers during the Second World War. It was a good production, especially for high school.
There was a Nazi flag on the play's backdrop. And of course, with my school having the history it does, people were tripping over themselves to be offended.
"Why are they allowed to have a Nazi flag at a school event but we can't wear our flag on our shirts?"
And so, last monday, they were back. Same place in the school parking lot. And I'm fucking livid.