In another win for the Confederacy, Georgia is bringing back the stars and bars to its license plates. For a small fee, you can advertise to the world that you are a racist who is "proud" of your state's "heritage" of racial injustice.
And it's all totally legal...
The great state of Georgia has approved specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. A group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans asked for the plates. No word about how the daughters of Confederate Veterans feel about the controversy. Ray McBerry, a group spokesman, told the Huffington Post:
"We believe that everyone has the right to preserve their heritage," he said. "Southerners have as much right to be proud of their heritage as anybody else."
There's a difference between "preserving" history, and being "proud" of it. And I really dislike how these Confederate revisionists conflate "Southern" history with "Confederate" history. As I've written before, there were a lot of white Southerners who DIDN'T REBEL. Not everybody was as parochially minded as Robert E. Lee. And there were tons of people who had lived in the South for generations before the outbreak of Civil War, who did not join the Confederate cause. They were called "slaves," and even now it seems like these so-called preservers of Southern heritage overlook the contributions to "Southern history" made by black people.
But I digress. Legally, it's fine for Georgia to offer these license plates. Georgia has the right to prohibit "hate speech" from its state-issued license plates. To me, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate. But not everybody agrees with me. It would seem that a majority of the good people in Georgia don't agree with me. And one of the consequences of living in a diverse society with a long tradition of free speech is that sometimes I have to hear people I don't like. And they have to hear me.
Contrast the Georgia plates with the recent decision to strike North Carolina's "Choose Life" license plates. As I just discussed on Legalese It, the North Carolina plate was struck down because officials refused to issue "Pro Choice" license plates. Instead, they only supported plates with a pro-life message. That amounts to the government preferring one type of speech — one type of religious speech to boot — to promote while quashing the speech of others.
That's illegal. But it's not like Georgia would prevent you from getting an American flag on your license plate. Georgia isn't trying to stop the competing message that America is a preferable land to the failed polity of rebellious secessionists.
Look, to me, the Confederate flag is an obscene symbol of oppression and general stupidity. But I would probably say the same thing about Truck Nuts. I'm not joking: there's been litigation about Truck Nuts.
So if somebody wants to turn their vehicle into the General Lee to signify their racial prejudice, let 'em. They lost. They got their asses kicked. Getting a Confederate flag license plate is a great way to say "I'm a loser."
Is A Ban on 'Truck Nuts' Unconstitutional? [Above the Law]