I don’t know everything about the racist history of America. But tell me if I have my facts wrong when I say that Michigan state was not part of the Confederacy. Because based on the recent behavior of a Michigan state senator, anyone could be forgiven for thinking differently.
On Friday, WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan reported that State Sen. Dale Zorn showed up for a vote at the state’s capitol wearing a mask emblazoned with the recognizable design of that flag favored by white supremacists presently and throughout hisory.
In typical Republican fashion, Zorn’s first reaction to the controversy he courted with his own actions was to throw his wife under the bus.
“It wasn’t a Confederate flag, it was a mask my wife made for me,” he told WLNS-TV. “She wanted me to wear it today, so I did. I told [her] it probably will raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag.”
With the characteristic cowardice that often accompanies behavior that is racist, Zorn then pivoted to some B.S. to justify what he was doing by wearing that mask:
“Even if it was a Confederate flag, you know, we should be talking about teaching our national history in schools, and that’s part of our national history.”
Maybe the mitten-shaped state did play a role in the Confederate Army during the civil war that spelled an end for the American institution of slavery.
Or maybe Dale Zorn is just racist.
By Saturday, the state senator took to Twitter to apologize for what he’s now calling an “error in judgment.”
Though Zorn proudly describes himself as having 30 years of public service in his Twitter bio, we’re supposed to believe he’s still ignorant of what the Confederate flag represents—even though he chose to decorate his whole damn face with it.
While he’s now “learning from this episode,” I’m still left grappling with the question of why an elected official would see a public health crisis unfolding and decide to respond by dialing up the racism.
Then again, I know enough about U.S. history to only ask that question rhetorically.