Recent letters have appeared in The Chronicle both defending and attacking the Confederate battle flag, the former being the most prevalent.
Most people who defend the flag cite heritage, etc. Some have, at great length, even described the evils and hypocrisy of the North during the Civil War. These claims are not unfounded, but I don't think playing the blame game will get us very far.
Sure, the North wasn't perfect and had its share of demons. However, I don't think too many people today would choose to live in the Confederate States of America rather than the United States of America. I certainly wouldn't. What a human rights nightmare that would be.
As for the Confederate flag itself, while it undoubtedly means heritage to many, the flag, by no fault of its own, has been perverted over the years by hate groups and even by our state governments.
South Carolina raised the Confederate flag to protest integration. And Georgia, by changing its flag - which already incorporated subtle Confederate symbols - did the same. Now, when many people see the Confederate flag, they see oppression, not heritage. Is this right? No, but this is how it is predominantly viewed.
For these reasons, I think it right that the Confederate flag was taken down from the South Carolina Statehouse and moved to a more appropriate setting, simply because the reasons for raising the flag originally were full of hate, not heritage, and this does a great disservice to the flag under which so many of our ancestors fought.
Their memories should not be tarnished with old, racist politics. This flag should no longer be seen in a political context, but rather a wholly historical one. Only then can we restore its dignity.
A. Norton, Athens
(Editor's note: The writer is originally from Wrens, but goes to school in Athens.)