Certainly not the only thing in this struggle, in fact just a symbolic act. But oftentimes symoblism has its place and its meaning. What’s most telling is the crowd’s chanting and its increase in excitement when the guards enter the gated area around the flagpole, which rises in intensity as they get closer to the pulling it down.
All the pomp and circumstance of the military, its worth nothing also, is likened only in ritual, ceremony and archaic superstition, to that of religious ceremonies across the world. Think about that for a minute.
We have presented here for your pleasure and contemplation, not only the video of the flag lowering, but also a fitting song, from The Band. While one would consider their song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with the telling lines,
” … there goes Robert E. Lee!
Now I don’t mind chopping wood and I don’t care if the money’s no good,
Ya take what you need and you leave the rest, ‘
but they should have never taken the very best.”
Which encapsulates the sacrifice that young ‘white’ men gave and even slaves who were forced into fighting against their own interest. No poor white in the south had a chance to make it the strict social order that demanded they sacrifice their lives in whatever way necessary to protect the interest of the plantation owner, including mustering in the town square to subvert rebellion; often rebellion of people they traded chickens and vegetables with during the evening, people they cheated when they could because of course, they could. People they were ordered to treat like animals in a brutal social order that dehumanized everyone.
And with that thought, I give you the song by The Band known as “The Weight” which seems to describe the chaos, hell and confusion that must have ran through the south after Sherman burned his way through. The burning of a social system that most people would think could only spring from the mind of some creature of hatred and hell has yet to happen though. We have the weight to deal with, we have a broken social order with injustice that points at the fact that in many ways this country was formed to favor a small minority at the expense and sacrifice of the majority. While through struggle and rebellion some portion of this country has scratched some portion of justice (however fragile), many still live under the weight of the old regime; the old order. From public funding allocations to the judge and jury box to neighborhood, from birth to death, this country still thrives on a system an individual’s skin color is the final determinant of what end of the social order they will exist on; the final determinant of their humanity.
Lowering that flag only will begin the process that this country and so many people must undertake to take responsibility for the lives shattered and broken through three hundred years of living hell. We all must come to terms with the truth. The southern states that seceded did so to preserve a system in a few could live like aristocrats on the backs of the many to whom they arbitrarily parsed out roles which laid out who would toil for crumbs and who would toil to avoid the lash.
And does not this system still persist, wherein Americans gleefully climb the existing social hierarchy in which the mark of ascension is the number of people one has a right to reduce to nothing? How can we claim to be the land “of the free” when we continue to hold people hostage inside a system where privileges are handed out to a few and handed down from generation to generation without question or any social obligation. Where heirs can now become the new crowned princes and princesses, earned on the backs of the American working person, who too often and too increasingly sinks into the depths of poverty likened as a type of wage slavery we have been assured would never happen here.
Many people in New Hampshire and most of northern New England like to think themselves far away from any trace of responsibility for the sins of the south; but the fact remains that any utterance of hatred or racism from anyone anywhere makes that person and anyone who condones such, just as culpable as anyone below the old Mason-Dixon line. Possibly even the sin of utterances and actions that replicate the old social order consummates an even greater sin as in fact, ignorance of the suffering and the pain of the south should at least cause some restraint in attitude. But many have seen such isn’t true and people in the north hold just as much virulent racism as those in the south.
It needs to end. We must lift this weight, this weight of hell, this weight of hate and replace it with redemption, cleansing, reparations and healing.