Will Durst Will Durst, 6/29/2015 [Archive]

Rebel Flag the Ultimate Dog Whistle

Raging Moderate by Will Durst

Since its reintroduction on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Confederate flag has been the source of controversy with a regularity approaching that of a Madonna comeback album. Sadly, it has been thrust into the news once more because some kid who loved it went crazy and committed an atrocity. A racially charged atrocity. Yes. Again.

Proponents of the flag fiercely insist it is not a racist symbol of slavery but a banner illustriously heralding their culture, heritage and independence. The same way a skull and crossbones is a symbol of rebirth. And the swastika is just an emblem of Caucasian pride.

Anything can represent anything if one is familiar with the code. A red bandana sticking out of a back pocket invokes a certain meaning, yet when tied around the neck of a yellow lab is decidedly less prurient. It's all context. Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni. That doesn't mean restaurants will start serving feathers and cheese as a side dish to barbecue dinners anytime soon.

But it is disingenuous to the extreme to suggest that when the rebel flag is worn or brandished in the first state to secede from the Union, that it isn't meant as a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, knowing and shared racist commentary with no need to be verbalized. The ultimate dog whistle in the key of Dixie.

Besides, it's not really THE Confederate flag; just a Confederate flag. It's not even one of three official flags used during the war. The original Stars and Bars looked too much like the Star Spangled Banner and confused troops on both sides. The 2nd flag had much too much white and was often mistaken for a flag of surrender. And the third was like the 2nd, only with a big red stripe at the end. And then the war was over. Except it wasn't. And in some places still isn't.

The recent resurgence of General Lee's Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia gives proof that though the War of Northern Aggression has been over for 150 years, the flame of bigotry remains alive. Why? Because old times there are not forgotten. The South never quit fighting; they just took an intermission. The pause that refreshes.

And their protestations of innocence might be a tad more believable if the states that insist on flying the flag over state-sponsored Confederate monuments weren't the same ones that defied integration way past the bitter end, using everything at their disposal including police batons, dogs and fire hoses.

"It's about states' rights." Yeah, especially those rights that include owning your labor force. They may call it macaroni, but it's really white supremacy. In Dixieland, I'll take my stand and live and die in Dixie. And Republicans wonder why they can't attract black voters.

Come on, you guys. It's the sixth year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Pull your Confederate flags off of government lands. Let folks fly or paint or tattoo them on their own property, which as you may or may not have noticed, no longer includes people. As George W. Bush famously said, "the past is over." Look away. Look away. Look away Dixieland.

——-

Copyright©2015, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed comic. Go to willdurst.com for info about the documentary, "3 Still Standing" and for calendar listings for personal appearances such as his new one- man show "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG" appearing July 2- 5 at the Center Street Theater in Santa Cruz. 1001 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Email Will at durst@caglecartoons.com. Visit to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, "Elect to Laugh" and calendar of personal appearances.,

Download Will Durst's color photo - Download Will Durst's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Will Durst's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

No Saluting the Confederate Flag
By: Daryl Cagle
Slate.com
June 25, 2015

No Saluting the Confederate Flag COLOR
By: Daryl Cagle
Slate.com
June 25, 2015

Confederate Flag
By: John Darkow

June 22, 2015

Love Wins
By: John Darkow

June 27, 2015

Love Wins
By: John Darkow

June 27, 2015

Black Lives Matter
By: Milt Priggee

June 24, 2015

Black Lives Matter Color
By: Milt Priggee

June 24, 2015

ONE COUNTRY ONE FLAG color
By: Bill Day

June 24, 2015

ONE COUNTRY ONE FLAG
By: Bill Day

June 24, 2015
 

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]