THIS OLD FLAG AND THAT OLD SONG
These are difficult times in America right now. After an unspeakable act of evil perpetrated by a deranged, drug-addled, and self-proclaimed “white supremacist”, there has been a wave of “cultural cleansing”, aimed at every vestige of the Confederacy, especially against our ancestors who fought that War with astonishing courage against overwhelming odds.
Even though a strong majority of the American people support our position that the flag is a symbol of heritage, not hate, this anti-Southern hysteria has reached a fever pitch. Politicians, the “mainstream” media and major corporate lackies have all quickly and hypocritically pounced on our beloved ancestors as a scapegoat for our country’s racial ills, which date back to the first European colonizations and involved every colony and state of our early republic.
Anyone with a grain of common sense knows that symbols mean different things to different people in different contexts. If we are going to have an honest and free discussion of our differences it must be with mutual respect of our different feelings and viewpoints. In America, this is vital to bridge-building and is in the best traditions of brotherhood and understanding.
My ancestors are being vilified by uninformed demagogues who are demanding an America that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in 1933, or of other totalitarian societies that banned heart-felt and popular points of view. These sanctimonious and closed minded zealots have gone so far as to ban “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the all-time favorite family show of all American families, no matter of what race or region.
Thankfully, Americans are standing up and “fighting the system” in the way we always have in the face of injustice. It is our duty to “speak truth to power.” We owe it to those who have given all to make America a bastion of free speech and expression.
About 15 years ago, I wrote an ode to the Confederate Battle Flag and recorded it with fiddler Travis Wetzel and the late, great Lee Ann Baber on banjo. Last week, I went back into the studio with Travis and banjo picker Tim White and re-recorded it. We added a rousing version of “Dixie” which is one of our Nation’s greatest pieces of music.
I hope y’all like it, I hope you will share it, and I hope you will join our fight to bring “The Dukes” back to television and, far more importantly, our fight to bring our nation back to its senses. Ultimately, our greatest struggle is to bring all of our citizens together with sincere respect for each other’s American journeys.
Thanks for listening,
Ben Jones aka Cooter