Dear editor,

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 16, 2015

This is a rebuttal to a letter about the Confederate battle flag in The Vicksburg Post on July 31. We should remember that the 1870s to 1970s were a “second civil war” waged successfully by Southern white supremists; being ended only by the federal government’s battles on racism, laws for civil rights and great courage of many blacks and whites to make changes for equality and justice. As a teenager in the 1960s, I retain vivid memories of those days.

Five items were used in this 100 year plus reign of terror, segregation, intimidation, degradation and death: rope for hanging, chain for drowning, sheet for hiding, burning cross for intimidating and Confederate battle flag for championing the cause of white supremacy. These items were tools in the hands of those who promoted racism, segregation and deadly heartache. We cannot forget Till, Evers, King, Parks, Hamer, Dahmer, civil rights workers’ murders, northern migration and a ton more of disturbance and death from 1870s until the 1960s and 1970s

“Heritage” is whatever someone wants it to be. Heritage is not just Southern men wearing gray CSA uniforms fighting over three troublesome convictions: slavery, states sovereignty, and sectionalism. Let’s take off the idealistic glasses of heritage and see the past 100 plus years as deep heartache caused by our misguided forefathers in their every attempt to maintain racial separation, intimidation and degradation. The flag is not heinous to minorities, just because it was flown in the Civil War, but its misuse for the past century plus as a primary symbol of championing white supremacy and racial inequalities. Remember that footballs, pecan pies, magnolia blossoms, fried catfish and other things special to us were not shoved in their face, but this controversial flag was.

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I voted for the new flag design in 2001. South Carolina made a recent stride only because of deaths.

I hope that our state would re-channel its stubbornness into positive areas and move forward with a flag that unites, rather than reminds us of a one hundred year plus time of heartache, racial hatred and calculated schemes to harm and limit minorities.

I know of a good place for any item used by white supremacy during and after Reconstruction…a museum. Halls of history are the best places for learning about the horrors of the past and gleaning strong lessons that drive us to a higher road of love and life. Let’s move it from the flagpole to the museum.

I am pro-Mississippi, pro-USA, pro-Israel, pro-life, pro-heterosexual only marriage, and pro-hopeful when it comes to moving forward, not living with a jaded view of heritage, but staying grounded in biblical Judeo-Christian values of love and truth.

Matt Buckles