To the editor:

It strikes me as outlandish that many of the same people so vocally incensed by NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem see no problem whatsoever with flying a Confederate flag, even doing so alongside the stars and stripes.

These people claim the players are somehow not patriotic by their actions, but they actively wave the battle flag of the most unpatriotic actions ever taken against this nation: secession and treason.

Yes, that battle flag represents a part of our nation’s history. But, as Gen. Lee once instructed of the flag after the war, “It should be folded and put away.” And it was for much of the 150 years since. It has regained increasing prominence in the last few decades only as this nation has had to deal with the modern-era repercussions of its slave-owning past.

When you embrace that battle flag and proudly let it wave, keep in mind how that treasonous action might have changed our lives.

The industrial revolution following that war would have had a different outcome. 

The western expansion of the U.S. would have looked much different. 

Territorial disputes with Mexico and Spain would have been a problem for the agrarian CSA to deal with, not the North. 

World War I would look much different without U.S. involvement, likely lasting longer. 

Jazz may not exist due to a much different New Orleans. 

It’s possible that women’s suffrage would not have been addressed, or at least until decades later. 

Even if a Great Depression still occurred, the many projects that happened via CCC, TVA and others, funded by a much larger nation, would not have happened, or not to the scale that they did. 

The outcome of World War II would have looked much different. 

The musical evolution of rock and roll from a Memphis-based Elvis and from African-American origins would have taken a much different course, or not exist at all. 

A divided nation would have an entirely different response to the global threats of communism in the 1950s and 1960s. Korea, Vietnam, eastern Europe and others would all have much different histories as a result.

The post-World War II economic growth would look different with a different history and outcome to that war.

So much of what we take for granted today is the direct result of an ugly chapter in our nation’s past reaching its decisive outcome on the battlefield and ending an earlier dark chapter where one group of humans owned and exploited another. 

So, if you’re still that incensed by someone taking a knee at an athletic event put on for your entertainment, turn the TV off and open up a history book for a few hours instead.