I realize events have outstripped Sunday’s bizarre “protests” by Tea Folk trying to blame the president for complying with their demands to shut down the government by shutting down the government. But Ta-Nehisi Coates makes an important point about the image of one of those Tea Folk standing in front of the White House brandishing a Confederate Battle Flag:

I don’t know if I am effectively communicating what is wrong with that picture and why it is deeply infuriating. If a patriot can stand in front of the White House brandishing the Confederate flag, then the word “patriot” has no meaning….

[T]he Confederate flag does not merely carry the stain of slavery, of “useful killing,” but the stain of attempting to end the Union itself. You cannot possibly wave that flag and honestly claim any sincere understanding of your country. It is not possible.

Regular readers know my views on That Flag, but Coates articulates the bottom line: You can claim all day long that Confederate imagery is simply an expression of “Southern pride,” but it’s a lie. It was, most fundamentally, the symbol of a sustained and bloody attack on the United States of America, and thus was and remains inherently inimical to patriotic sentiment.

How hard it this to grasp?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.