Michael Ashmore posted a defense of his waving the Confederate flag, as shown here, on Facebook. It doesn't hold up well. (Image Source: Reuters)
While many things happened at Sunday's One Million Vets March — which is now believed to have been hijacked by Tea Party supporters — to cause scorn, one thing stood out in many people's minds: Michael Ashmore waving the flag of the Confederacy, also known as the Stars and Bars, in front of the White House. The image of a man defiantly waving a flag that has been defined primarily by the slavery of blacks in front of the home and office of the first black President of the United States has disgusted many. Ashmore has since attempted to defend himself, but with unfortunate implications in his defense.
Michael Ashmore posted a defense of his Confederate flag waving following a post by Chuck Jines of Republic Affair, who called the flag waver "representative of the kind of uneducated country folks" that fought in the Civil War on the Confederate side. Ashmore's defense, posted verbatim from his Facebook page, is below:
I want people to know what kind of person I am and maybe it will stop all the negative talk about me, probably not but I will try. I grew up in a small town in Texas, hooks tx. My town consist of many different races (Black,white,Hispanic ,Asian) I am also friends with some of them. I grew up in a poor home, dad worked many jobs to make ends meet. He was a great dad. He died August 10th 2013 of cancer. I didn’t really know my mom until I was about 19. We are talking now and I am happy to know her.
I know things were rough back then and I don’t blame my mom at all, and I will always love her. I have 4 siblings. 2 brothers, and 2 sisters. I don’t know them that well. I am trying to get to know my sister Michelle. We have been talking for the past 4 years. And she has helped me a lot. I joined the marine core when I was 19 years old. I served almost 4 years and I served in 1 tour over in Afghanistan. I was there for 8 months as a rifleman (0311). I was honorably discharged early to take care of my father. Did I mention he was a great man.
I now travel around the country for my job. I work 12 hour days 6 days a week and 8 hours on Sunday, Most of the time. I don’t get much time to go home. Witch is fine seeing as I am young and love this country and now I can see it all through my travels. I work with some great guys. They give me support and compassion when needed. I couldn’t ask for any better people to work with or for. Now for the comments about me being a racist and waving the confederate flag in front of the White House were the first Black President and First Lady live. For most people the flag represents hate and racism. But not for all. We as the people some times are so close minded to what we believe, we don’t look at what others might believe.
For me the flag doesn’t represent hate, racism, or diversity. It represents we’re I come from, It represents the love I have for my country, family, and friends. In a post I was reading earlier today a man named Chuck Jines said in his article that ” I was ignorant to wave the confederate flag at the White House were the first Black President and First Lady live”. Because it represented hate and racism. In his eyes maybe and maybe a lot of others. But to me, Michael Ashmore it represents none of the above.
I do not disagree that the civil war was fought over slavery. It was. But if you think that is all it was about then you are blind. Ignorance is bliss. And to be close minded is just the way most people are. I can not change that. I can only except it and keep moving forward in my life. I know who I am, and I am proud of it. And I will stand proud in any town and hold the hands of all my brothers and sister that I fought for. To not except me for what you think I stand for ( and not the real me) is ignorance. So I pray for you and all the other people in this great country. So maybe one day we will look at each other through different eyes. And not judge each other. Because that’s for God to do. God bless.
Granted, it is good that Michael Ashmore took the time to explain himself, and he does acknowledge that, indeed, the Civil War was fought over slavery. But the tone and stance of this post shows more a push to defend his beliefs at all costs than anything else. Ashmore barely acknowledges that yes, people consider the Stars and Bars to be a vile symbol of racism and hatred that was formed into a cultural and economic institution over the period of nearly a century. His essential response to that could be summed up as "Well, those aren't my beliefs, so there! Nyah!"
More importantly though, Michael Ashmore goes about playing the victim, saying all this "negative talk" is hurting him, even though he is apparently a decent man. Ashmore's victim-baiting reflects a great deal of irresponsibility and even blindness to one's actions. How can a person walk in front of the White House — which house the victors in the Civil War — wave a flag representing the losers of that War and the crimes they are guilty of, and not think that a lot of people might be insulted by the act?
It is one thing to have nostalgia for the Confederacy, or to identify one's Southern attitudes and beliefs with the Stars and Bars. It happens all the time in the South. Look at Lynard Skynard, for example. Most of the time, it is of little harm to anyone. But it is another thing entirely to not only act out on those beliefs, but to also do so in a place that has completely hostile ideas about both the Confederacy and the Stars and Bars, only to then get defensive when people from that place actually call them out for doing something so reprehensible. A person must be willing to take responsibility and accept the consequences of their actions, even if those actions shine them in a bad light. Michael Ashmore is not that person right now.