I have this (male) friend.  I’ve known him for years via my ST/SF/geeky group of guys that I met decades and lifetimes ago in Atlanta. When the timing couldn’t have been worse, he once confessed that he had “carried a torch” for me for nearly ten years.  We had a brief, intense, long-distance affair that was exactly what I needed at the time and ended just the way it should have for both of us.  We still stay in touch.  I like him and care about him, but BOY am I glad we never took things any further.

He lives in the south.  He’s a sweet, smart guy (he likes SF, of course he’s smart, right?).  So, I find it terribly difficult to accept that he’s a rabid conservative, owns a small arsenal of weapons, and the other day, was thrilled that his state MIGHT put the Confederate flag on its state license plate.

I mean, this is a guy who’s so “pro US” and “patriotic” I can’t even find a comparison.  Yet, he would jump at the chance to have a symbol of a conflict that nearly tore this country apart on his car and be proud of it.  Does he not realize what that flag stood for?  Is the Civil War in this country just too far in the past? I know Americans are notorious for having short memories, but come on?  Really?

I’d like to e-mail him and ask him directly because, honestly, I am curious.  I don’t want to browbeat him or anything.  I wonder what HE thinks that flag means.  Perhaps for him it’s a symbol of “rugged individualism” or regional pride or something.  And in the end, it’s only a flag, right?  But it used to be on the Georgia state flag when I was a kid and later it was removed because it was too much of a reminder to too many people of a time when oppression and inequality were not on the the norm but actively celebrated.

I wonder if he would be as eager to embrace the swastika, which Hitler corrupted from an ancient Hindu symbol for good luck.  Somehow, I don’t think so.

I probably won’t get into it with him.  I’m chicken.  Even via e-mail, even long distance, I don’t want to start an argument and possibly create a misunderstanding where really I only want clarity.  But I still can’t help but think that if he really grasped the significance of that symbol, he wouldn’t be so eager to display it. At least, I’d like to hope.


5 thoughts on “Curious

  1. Yeah. You’re right. But, honestly, knowing him, I think it comes from a place of fear and insecurity more than anything. To me, the “conservative agenda” is all about making people afraid of their own shadows.

  2. Ohhhh yeah. So I can see where you might want to have a conversation around releasing fear and so on. I guess I just don’t know that many people who can really hear anything outside of that perspective when they’re that deeply into it. But hey, if you do write him, it should make good blog fodder. Heh.

  3. GG, very interesting post. I think talking to him would be good.
    First – I think one of the things you have already established that even though you have different politics, you can have common ground. My best friend and I are total opposites when it comes to politics. We can get into some real shouting matches over the topic but at the end of the day we are who are and move on.
    Second – far too often we hide (metaphorically) behind our own labels of ourselves and others and we don’t try to reach across or communicate as often as we should. We forget the people on the other side are also people with their labels there are also hiding behind.
    Third – I never understood the Dixie flag but I was raised in Jersey so we had our own biases. I never heard the expression ‘The War do North Aggression’ until I went to college in AZ and met some southerners. At the time I thought it was so Beverly Hillbillies. I just pictured Granny runny around the yard with her Confederate cap and shotgun. Over the years, as have I learned more, I found it was a war of aggression about State Rights and slavery was more ancillary reason.
    I do understand not making the attempt. It’s hard to start a very open fact finding conversation without emotions getting involved. We naturally get our defenses up easily.
    Just my 2 or 3 cents.

  4. Thanks, AH. I find it odd, too, even though I was mostly raised in the south by southern parents. However, they always looked forward, not back. They thought of history as something that shaped you, not some place you wanted to live. I guess my question is if you support “America” as it is now, why are you so attached to a symbol that meant splitting America as it was then? How do you reconcile that? Not so much about current politics, etc. I guess we’ll see what happens. It doesn’t bother me all that much, I just thought it was an interesting dichotomy. Thanks for the comment!!


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