USMC Bans Public Display of Confederate Battle Flag [OPINION]
The United States Marine Corps has issued a Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) calling for the removal of most public displays of the Confederate battle flag on Marine Corps installations.
The message was sent down from USMC Headquarters on Friday, June 5, 2020, effectively banning any public display of the flag not associated with "works of art, educational, or historical" displays.
Through the MARADMIN, Marine Corps commanders are directed to inspect all common areas, workspaces, and public areas on their individual installations and remove any reference to the flag. This includes actual flags (unless on a Confederate grave or an official historical marker/memorial), photos, bumper stickers, clothing, etc. The directive, however, does NOT allow commanders to search those under his command's personal space, including inside vehicles, inside "assigned" desk drawers or cabinets, backpacks/personal bags, or inside homes (whether privately-owned or government-provided).
The purpose of the directive, according to the USMC is to encourage unity:
THE MARINE CORPS SHALL REMOVE THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG FROM ALL INSTALLATION PUBLIC SPACES AND WORK AREAS IN ORDER TO SUPPORT OUR CORE VALUES, ENSURE UNIT COHESION AND SECURITY, AND PRESERVE GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE. - USMC
According to the YouGov website, it appears that the Marine Corps is on the right track if they are trying to encourage unity among the ranks:
The Confederate flag was designed to represent a divided nation.- YouGov
YouGov surveyed more than 34,000 Americans to ask them what the Confederate battle flag meant. Here is what they found:
For a plurality of Americans, the Confederate flag represents racism (41%). But for about one-third of Americans (34%) — particularly adults over 65, those living in rural communities, or non-college-educated white Americans — the flag symbolizes heritage. - YouGov
The survey found that white Americans who were non-college-educated, people over the age of 65, and those living in rural areas see heritage when they look at the Confederate battle flag (34%).
More Americans (41%) think of racism when they see that flag.
In Germany, after the fall of the Third Reich, legislation was put in place practically banning any public display of the Nazi flag or of the SS and swastika symbols, as all were symbols of not only oppression of races/creeds/colors/sexes, but of downright hate. It is time for the same type of legislation here?
Regardless of why you believe the Civil War was fought, the best place for a Confederate flag is in a museum, as it causes hurt to a majority of Americans.
Yes, it's still a free country. Yes, your First Amendment Rights grant you the right to display the Confederate flag. Yes, you have the right to show your fellow Americans your true colors.