In contrast to Charlottesville: Race and Terror, Heritage and Hate: Mississippi's State Flag is a case study of how patience, curiosity, and the power of seeing things from another's perspective can change hearts, and possibly flags.
I truly appreciated this documentary because it changed the narrative a bit, because when I think of the stars and stripes of the confederate flag, I think white supremacists, radical racists, and gun-totting, right-wing extremists.
Or, at the very least, those who relate to them but are too afraid to attend rallies or shoot up churches.
Which is probably completely unfair. Or, at the very least, fully incomplete.
But still, the argument of, "This is my heritage" doesn't hold much water. In fact, it probably proves the point. Because if heritage is the basis for making decisions, then the flag must come down. Because to some, to many, it's a reminder of the brutality and hate that their ancestors had to endure. Because their heritage isn't white.
I mean, isn't that just being hospitable? Caring for others and making them feel at home?
Because to many, the Confederate flag is the antithesis of southern hospitality.
Yet, Sometimes, seeing things from another's perspective is the most difficult task we are asked to do.
And that means me too.
I don't understand the Confederate flag, why anyone would fly it anywhere, or why keeping it around, especially at government buildings, is even up for discussion. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try to understand. Because I should. Especially because I don't understand.
Seeing things from another's perspective means sitting and talking and listening to those who hold a perspective different than my own. It means disagreeing, respectfully, but also changing. Maybe not in beliefs and convictions, but for sure in perspectives and opinions of those who live on the other side.
Because they too are human. And I need them, their differences, and their hardheadedness. Just like they need mine.
Arthur Brooks, in a discussion with Guy Raz, says it this way:
A majority of our people in our country today who are politically active believe that they are motivated by love, but the other side is motivated by hate. Think about it. Think about it. Most people are walking around saying, you know, my ideology's based on basic benevolence. I want to help people. But the other guys, they're evil and out to get me. You can't progress as a society when you have this kind of asymmetry. It's impossible - irreconcilable differences, right? We'll never come together - wrong. That is diversity, in which lies our strength. We need each other. In other words, if we want to help people, there's no other way.
I love that, "no other way," because it reminds me that if everyone thought like me, had my strengths, my opinions, my perspectives and convictions, not only would this country and world turn to shit and suffer deeply, it would never grow or learn or do anything other than die.
Because my thoughts and ideas are fully and completely incomplete, they need unity with diversity, but they don't need a flag.
And neither does this country.