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July 16, 2003 by AK

The Charms of Flags

When a polity’s official symbol is patently offensive to, say, 20% of its citizens; when it embodies, for the majority, the glory of better days, and for a minority, past injustices, — it becomes so hopelessly divisive that it is in everyone’s interest to retire it. One would think this could apply to (hypothetical) Serbs in Croatia and its checkered flag (sahovnica), or, perhaps, to the Ulster Catholics and the Orange banner. (Note however that the leftmost band on the Republic’s flag is orange.)

But the Western hemisphere, the first place that comes to mind is South Carolina (and then, Georgia?); the same logic should work there as elsewhere. So why is the Confederate flag such an irrationally powerful symbol?

Everyone is ignoring the esthetical dimension. The Southern Cross is terribly, transcendentally beautiful.

Well, I know I’m exaggerating, but hold on. (To be continued.)


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