I hate when people try to talk around a subject. It’s far easier to just be upfront and straightforward about what the issue is. Simply put, if you’re not gonna knuck, then don’t sit here and try to buck. As conversations on the inherent racism of the Confederate flag have reignited in recent months, we’ve seen multiple institutions flat out say “that shit’s banned.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper, well, did not do that.
Instead, according to the Washington Post, he sent out a memo that said the “flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.” That’s a lot of words to not say what you’re trying to say. He goes on to say that the American flag is the “principal flag we are authorized and encouraged to display.”
He never mentions the Confederate flag, not once.
He writes a flowery spiel about how “Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” but he never mentions the Confederate flag. Not once.
He even manages to go on to quote World War II veteran and Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who once said the American flag “Is a symbol of freedom, of equal opportunity, of religious tolerance, and of good will for other peoples who share our aspirations.” You know what he didn’t do though?
Mention the Confederate flag.
Esper provided a list of flags that are authorized to be flown on bases that includes state flags, POW/MIA flags, and flags for organizations such as NATO where the United States is a member. He provided a really extensive list of flags that actually are allowed on military bases.
The Confederate flag was never mentioned though. Not once.
It’s just amusing that even in trying to “do the right thing,” this administration still manages to, well, not. You can’t get points for solving a problem if you’re not willing to outright address what it is and why it’s a problem. Both the Marines and the Navy explicitly named the Confederate flag when they issued their bans. If the actual organizations can do it, then why can’t the man in charge of overseeing them?
Well, actually, I think we know why.