In a world where we are all connected, social behavior seems to be instantly judged on the basis of the lowest common denominator of the most popular and currently trending values of the day. Never mind that they may change within a year. We now have a type of “nuevo political correctness” or “nuevo PC” emerging where every word and symbol is scrutinized for political correctness, when it is in fact the behavior behind the symbols and words that needs to be addressed. Condemning the effects without addressing the causes will never make a lasting change.
The latest popular movement is to take down every confederate flag and to basically say, “All confederate flags, no matter what, are ipso facto symbols of hate and should be removed.” Even if that is the case, and even if we take down every confederate flag, would we really remove the hate? Or would the flag then be elevated to martyr status and become a symbol of some twisted form of resistance? When they outlawed the swastika in Germany, the Nazis went underground and began to use the swastika to terrorize people.
There are many countries throughout history, including our own, which allowed or advocated slavery and various forms of genocide. Their flags still fly. If the Native Americans had won, would they outlaw the Stars and Stripes for what we did to them? The fact is that the Confederacy is part of our history, like it or not.
William Churchill once said, “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” We can’t erase history by simply removing the flag. The best we can do is never forget that it existed, what it stood for, and how it got there. Hopefully that memory will remind us that it could happen again without knowledge of history and the reasoning at the time. We have to be vigilant that history doesn’t repeat itself, but we can’t do that without the knowledge of history.
So are we removing the Confederate flag or trying to erase our embarrassing past? If we are successful at the latter, we are more likely to repeat it. Sure, it’s easier to focus on the symbol, and we can even remove it from all public places. But are we doing it to try to cleanse ourselves from the sins of our past?
Shouldn’t we instead redouble our efforts to understand and teach the next generation that the Confederacy was in fact a group of states whose economy at that time was dependent on slavery? They broke away and fought for their livelihood as they knew it.
It’s tragic that their flag is involved in such heinous hate crimes. But simply banning the flag won’t stop those kinds of crimes. Only education will! The confederate flag really stood for a way of life and an economy that was non-sustainable. Yet so many Confederate Americans’ livelihood depended on it.
Today we are ready to hand off a world to the next generation whose very livelihood seems to depend on the destruction of the environment. President Obama says this is the last generation that can make a difference in the environment. But shouldn’t we be telling this generation that the environment they will inherit is caused by the economy? Are we being politically correct in one area and trying to erase our history by banning symbols, while not understanding the economic causes behind the destruction of the environment? Why? Because like the Confederacy, our very livelihood seems to depend on staying the course.
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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