We’ve been keeping a close eye out for Confederate flags for the past year, but not until recently did we travel into actual Confederate territory. If we wanted to run up the numbers of battle flag sightings, we should have stayed home.
In five days of travel between San Antonio and Austin (linked by I-35) we saw no Confederate flags. As in none. We were surprised.
Yes, on the grounds of the state Capitol, we found a monument inscribed with a short course in the Lost Cause. (“Died for state’s rights guaranteed under the Constitution,” it says.) There, too, was a monument to the Confederate cavalry unit that became the Texas Rangers. Texas isn’t erasing it’s Confederate identity. But car bumpers and front porches all around were empty of the emblematic banner; the schools are being renamed.
Which leaves us with a disturbing question: why is it easier to find Confederate flags in the Pacific Northwest than it is in the Confederacy?
It could be it’s a coincidence. We are not doing scientific research here. Since we only have anecdotal evidence, here’s two more anecdotes:
- A History PhD told us about bringing a mentor from Louisiana to Oregon for sightseeing visit. The elder professor was astonished to see so many Confederate flags freely displayed.
- A friend in Idaho knew of a transplant to that state from South Carolina who worked with veterans and could not understand why so many in Idaho freely used the N-word and wore the Confederate flag.
If there is, indeed, more waving of Confederate symbols in the PNW, here’s a theory why: We know not what we do. Maybe people put it on thinking they are rebels or conservative, without knowing much of the history. Or, maybe we are a receiving station for folks who do know the history. Perhaps the population growth of Cascadia is more fueled by migration from Dixie than we recognize.
More to learn, clearly.