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.