Letter: Respect

With all due respect

So Joe … “Seems a Bit Extreme” [Letters, July 8] indicates you are OK with the meme that piece of rag with “chosen colors” represents today (really, since the Civil War), for skinheads and haters, all ladies and gentlemen who bemoan the passing of an idyll that existed (and could still!) in the context of free labor. Neither the plantation owners nor industrialists are responsible for the way of life they enjoyed as much as the free and exceedingly cheap labor that provided it, the fruits of which we, and privileged folk especially, enjoy today.

Nostalgia, the nationalistic xenophobic impulse behind states’ rights (aka “our way is the right way of life”) requires the sort of short-sightedness that forgets who worked the “miracle” and the flag is a signal whether conscious or unconscious that its still OK to be blind to all that. It always comes with a plaintive defensiveness, hence “seems a bit extreme.” Sometimes it grows violently disgruntled, as paranoia seeps into the cultural DNA (Denial, on a National scale, of Avarice).

So next time we go to San Rafael Public Library, lets practice a balanced approach. Let’s think of the Ludlow miners when we thank Andrew Carnegie, shall we? And let’s stop pretending the “old ways” hold any more promise for most of us today than they did for the vast majority of confederate dead, fooled into thinking they could keep their land (and hard-scrabble existence) if they fight for the landlords and win the south for them.

From Marin, with all due respect,


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