Friday, July 10, 2015

of Flags and Heritage and Love

MagPie Approved:My G-Grandfather
My G-GrandFather Adam Rott born in Russia 1884
Immigrated to the Dakota Territories in the US the same year.

I’m going to touch on a topic that may be, well is, politically charged. This is simply my view, you may share it or maybe not, but it is mine none-the-less.

I am for lack of a better phrase, an American Mutt. I am not a “purebred” by any means. My family has been here so long that we predate the conception of the USA. Seriously, I have DAR lineage as does my husband, though technically that would be SAR. For those not in the know, Daughters/Sons of the American Revolution, descendants of patriots and/or soldiers of the American Revolution on the rebelling side. I have Native American heritage as well, obviously also predating. I have generation after generation of immigrants to this country of ours. So much so that I can’t really identify with any of them. Nothing more than stories have been passed down, cool little tidbits like we're descended from Robert the Bruce, one G-G Grandfather could speak 13 languages and was a professor before coming here and another was stoned to death for swimming in a white man's swimming hole, but no important traditions or culture. Just that family is what matters in this world.

My family is a very long list of immigrants. Family matters. So I take great offense when the politicians/or their pundits begin spewing the noxious verbiage that immigrants are what is destroying the fabric of our nation.  EVERY LAST ONE OF US is a product of immigration. Exceptions to any Native who is not of a mixed heritage. You and I are not destroying our country, neither is anyone else looking for a better life.

What could destroy this nation is the notion that left and right aren’t flip sides of the same darn coin. We will rip ourselves apart if we don’t all come to this realization. All this venom has us on the brink of a virtual Civil War. Pointing fingers and blaming each other for the actions of our elected officials and their pundits. 

My family has lived in most parts of this country North and South, and yes when it came time for the American Civil War, they also fought North and South.

MagPie Approved - My Family, My Heritage
My G-G-G-Grandfather wearing his Civil War Confederate uniform in this family photo taken in Mississippi.

Some of my family fought under that Rebel flag, I don’t pretend to know the reasoning it was not a story that was passed down. In fact it was never discussed at all that I’m aware of. I only know of it from my own research. To me, that flag was just a part of history. It meant nothing more than an act of rebellion. In my eyes it stood for nothing more than a final rebellion against authority. Had any family history been passed down in regards to it I might have felt differently about it but that was not the case. My guess is, it wasn't the case for most other folks either.

While I was still researching my ancestry on I found a record I hadn’t seen before. Spelling variations in this line had made searching an adventure to say the least. I clicked to view it, a Slave record. I thought at first maybe someone in the family had been indentured for some time. Imagine my utter dismay when I discovered it was a recording of my family members ownership of slaves. I was immediately sickened, my stomach was doing flips and tying itself in knots. You can’t own another human being, it goes against everything I know to be true and yet, there it was.  My brain tried to reconcile this, purchasing their freedom so that families could remain together. That’s a noble thing right? Always the optimist and seeing the world through mine own eyes, historically I know the odds of this are slim and it saddens me still.

I live in the South and I am proud to call it home for so many many reasons, but that flag holds no loyalty for me. It never meant more than a last act of rebellion.

Juanita is a friend of my Aunts for as long as I can remember. She has the most gentle voice and she was always just the sweetest person. I didn’t know it at the time but she was the foundation of my beliefs in equality. She wasn’t anything ugly at all,  She was Juanita. A beautiful human with a beautiful soul. How could anyone hate that? How could anyone hate her?

To know that a flag whose meaning to me was simply of rebellion was used to hurt and oppress the likes of Juanita and countless others like her, hurts me. It holds no loyalty for me. Go ahead, return it to history. 

That doesn’t mean I think we should destroy it. To forget the past is to doom ourselves to repeat it. It doesn’t mean I no longer love Gone With the Wind either. It’s still quite the tragic love story. But we learn and we move on, and in the words of Scarlet, we live another day.

Thanks for stopping by and for listening to me ramble on yet again!
See ya next time!

edited to add this post I found on FB, as I believe it bears repeating:

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