Charlie Daniels Speaks Out About Confederate Flag Debate
Charlie Daniels is voicing his opinion in the debate over the Confederate flag, which been particularly heated since the recent church shooting in Charleston, S.C.
"The recent senseless act of slaughter in a church in Charleston, S.C., awakened America to the ever-present lunacy and evil that walks among us and has also reopened some old wounds and deep feelings on both sides of a long-festering situation," Daniels shares on his website. "Before I go any farther with this piece, I wish to express my love and admiration for the people of Charleston who have, in the face of immense pain, shown a restraint and a common sense seldom seen in tragic situations involving race."
Daniels goes on to express his sympathy for the families of the nine people killed on June 17, along with his belief that the alleged killer, Dylann Roof, will be served justice for his crime.
"I have received many requests to do interviews on this subject and had a lot of tweets asking me to comment," Daniels continues, "but I declined, wanting to take the time to explain my feelings in detail, without having to answer other people's loaded questions or express myself in [the] 140-character limit of Twitter."
The artist then explains his own feelings about the Confederate flag and how they are different from the feelings associated with it by Roof and those like him.
"I was born in 1936, a mere 71 years after the Civil War ended, when the South was looked upon by what seemed to be a majority of the Northern states as an inbred, backward, uneducated, slow-talking and slower-thinking people, with low morals and a propensity for incest," he says. "This was in the days before television, and about all the folks up North knew about Southerners was what they heard, and there were a lot of people who took great pleasure in proliferating the myth, and some still do it to this day.
"The Confederate battle flag was a sign of defiance, a sign of pride, a declaration of a geographical area that you were proud to be from. That’s all it is to me and all it ever has ever been to me," Daniels writes. "I can’t speak for all, but I know in my heart that most Southerners feel the same way. I have no desire to reinstate the Confederacy, I oppose slavery as vehemently as any man, and I believe that every human being, regardless of the color of their skin is just as valuable as I am and deserves the exact same rights and advantages as I do.
"Unfortunately," Daniels adds, "the Confederate battle flag has been adopted by hate groups -- and individuals like Dylann Roof -- to supposedly represent them and their hateful view of the races.
"I lived through the useless cruelty of those days and did not get my feelings out of some sensitivity class or social studies course, but made my own decisions out of experience and disgust," he says. "I hold no ill feelings and have no axes to grind with my brothers and sisters of any color. The same God made us, the same God will judge us, and I pray that He will intervene in the deep racial divide we have in this nation and make each person -- black or white -- see each other for what we truly are, human beings, no better, no worse."
Daniels isn't the only country artist who has spoken out in the Confederate flag debate. Big & Rich's John Rich also shared his thoughts, saying,"I think we can go on ad nauseam about this forever, [but] if something’s bringing pain, or if something is bringing something that somebody uses for hate like that, I mean, I just don’t see the point of continuing to go forward with it."