California AB 2444 has cleared all legislative hurdles by overwhelming majorities (71 to 1 in the Assembly and 33 to 2 in the Senate) and is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting his certain signature. The bill mandates that “The State of California may not sell or display the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, also referred to as the Stars and Bars, or any similar image, or tangible personal property, inscribed with such an image unless the image appears in a book, digital medium, or state museum that serves an educational or historical purpose”.

The rationale behind the bill, you guessed it, includes racism, hate, and the threat of violence against African Americans that the flag allegedly symbolizes.

Regardless of such nonsense, AB 2444 fleshes out several facts worth noting:

First, under the original model of States’ Rights federalism, California is well within its rights to ban the “sale of certain merchandise, including political items and sports memorabilia” on State property.

Second, the bill exemplifies the ignorance about what the Battle Flag genuinely symbolizes today for most folks that honor it.

Third, it illustrates the illiteracy among the majority of Californians, along with the majority of Americans, regarding the War of Northern Aggression.

Fourth, it showcases the manner and extent to which Southerners are complicit in the denigration of their own history and culture, with the exception of those still brave enough to withstand the attacks.

Fifth, it is naïve to suspect that the ban of Confederate symbols will be restricted to state property. Consider the following. Last month at the request of AB 2444 sponsor Assemblyman Isadore Hall, Governor Brown had all state fairs remove from vendors’ stalls any items bearing the Confederate flag, including blankets, hats, and posters. Hall persuaded Governor Brown that “The California State Fair is supposed to be a family-friendly event that celebrates the best of California and its people. California should not be in the business of promoting racism, exclusion, oppression or violence towards anyone and taxpayer resources should never be used to market hate towards any Californian”. With the tremendous reach of state licensing and regulatory powers, it is reasonable to expect that the private sector will soon be following the ban on all things Confederate, first through conventional order and then statutorily.

And most important, sixth, it outlines the absurdity of a Union of States in which some States denigrate the history, culture, and dignity of other States. More specifically, AB 2444 has just announced to the world that you are and your ancestors were nothing more than racist, oppressive, violent traitors. There was a time when self-respecting Southerners stopped keeping company when treated so contemptuously. See fact four supra.

Marshall DeRosa

Marshall DeRosa received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Houston and his B. A. from West Virginia University, Magna Cum Laude. He has taught at Davis and Elkins College (1985-1988), Louisiana State University (1988-1990), and Florida Atlantic University (1990-Present). He is a Salvatori Fellow with the Heritage Foundation and full professor in the Department of Political Science. He has published articles and reviews in professional journals, book chapters, and three books. He resides in Wellington, FL, with his wife and four children.

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