The Confederate Monuments Must Come Down

CharlottesvilleRobertLeeStatue

As you may recall, during the weekend, white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park. And as you know, they clashed with a group of counter-protesters which resulted in 3 people killed and at least 35 wounded. Nevertheless, since the 2015 Emmanuel AME Church shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, there has been more attention on Confederate symbols in public spaces. Two years ago, I wrote a post arguing why the Confederate flag is racist and why it should be removed. But it’s not the only Confederate symbol you see in the United States. Across the nation hundreds of Confederate memorials, plazas, and markers dot 31 states standing in public parks, courthouse squares, and state capitols. Plenty of cities, bridges, roads, parks, schools, counties, military bases, and other public areas are named after Confederate icons. And as of 2017, six states observe 9 official Confederate holidays. Since the Charleston shooting, at least 60 of these publicly funded Confederate symbols have been removed or renamed according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. However, as of 2016, the SPLC has documented that over 1,500 of them remain on public property including more than 700 monuments and statues.

Attempts at removing these monuments or renaming public spaces have generated considerable controversy and backlash. Some of these monuments like the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville have become rallying points for white supremacists. Yet, opposition to Confederate monument removal isn’t just limited to the radical right fringe. Southern state lawmakers have proposed legislation banning local governments from removing these controversial landmarks and symbols. One state representative from Mississippi even called for those removing Confederate statues to be lynched. Also, most of these plaques, statues, and monuments are still up thanks to the support of local residents, town councils, and even state governments. Many critics say removing a monument or flag, renaming a public place, or ending a state holiday is tantamount “erasing history.” Proponents often state that these landmarks and emblems represent history and heritage and that efforts to remove them is just political correctness gone too far.

Yet, the “heritage not hate” rationale used to justify public Confederate displays ignores the near-universal heritage of African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in the South. It also trivializes their pain, their history, and concerns about racism. Not to mention, the “heritage” argument conceals the true history of the Confederacy and the 7 decades of Jim Crow segregation and oppression after Reconstruction. There is no doubt that the Confederacy was founded on white supremacy and that the South fought the Civil War to preserve slavery. Its founding documents and leaders made it perfectly clear. After all it was Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens who said in his 1861 “Cornerstone speech”, “Our new government is founded upon … the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” And by defending slavery with gunfire and cannons, the Confederates prolonged the life of an institution which brought indescribable suffering and horror to millions. Through waging war against the Union, they betrayed the United States and killed thousands of their fellow countrymen.
However, despite that Civil War history is well-documented, legions of Southern whites still cling to the Lost Cause myth as a noble Southern endeavor fought to defend the region’s honor and its ability to govern itself in the face of Northern aggression. This is of course, bullshit but it’s a deeply rooted false narrative resulting from many decades of revisionism in the lore and even Southern textbooks seeking to create a more acceptable version of the area’s past. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, 48% of Americans cited states’ rights as the reason for the Civil War despite which doesn’t hold up when you include the Fugitive Slave Act, Bleeding Kansas, and the Dred Scott Decision. Not to mention, all the pro-slavery and white supremacist sentiments in Confederate documents. Still, these Confederate monuments and symbols in the South are very much a part of that effort. Historian Thavolia Glymph noted that the Lost Cause became so endemic that it passed, “off legend as history so successfully that the legend came to be remembered as the history.” Though Southerners started honoring the Confederacy with statues and symbols almost immediately after the Civil War, most dedications of Confederate monuments and other symbols took place during the early 20th century which lasted well into the 1920s and from the early 1950s all through the 1960s. Why these periods? Well, the first spike happened during the period when states enacted Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise newly freed blacks and re-segregate society. This period also saw the dramatic resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan thanks to D.W. Griffith’s 1916 film The Birth of a Nation. The second spike in Confederate dedications happened during the civil rights movement, leading to white segregationist backlash. Even in the 21st century, these monuments keep cropping up, including 35 in North Carolina. Therefore, it’s very clear that many of these Confederate monuments and symbols exist not to honor history, heritage or the fallen but to enforce and perpetuate white supremacy through legal and even violent means.

Not only do these monuments instill white supremacy on the American landscape, they also perpetuate myths that screw up the American historical narrative known as the Lost Cause myth. When you erect a monument for someone or group, you also determine how they should be remembered as well as enshrine everything they stood for as noble and just. These Confederate monuments conjure images of resplendent generals and brave soldiers fighting for a noble but lost cause. Memorials to Confederate soldiers extol their heroism and valor or sometimes details of particular battles or local units. But some go so far as to glorify the Confederacy’s cause. One notable example is a monument in Anderson County, South Carolina reading, “The world shall yet decide, in truth’s clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right.” But in reality, their cause was white supremacy and slavery which are anything but noble. They also conceal the economic exploitation, political oppression, and widespread violence black people faced when these monuments were built.

But while dedicating Confederate memorials for fallen soldiers is one thing, leaders are another. Many of these statues of Confederate leaders conjure a perception of them as gallant and noble heroes fighting for what was right. As an activist in Memphis told Al Jazeera, “Kids see these statues and think they’re for great people. These statues don’t say anything about the atrocities.” And they don’t usually reflect who these leaders are. Robert E. Lee is clearest example of this since he’s had more monuments and places with his name and/or likeness than any other leader in the Confederacy. And he’s certainly its most admired champion who’s continually praised as a brilliant strategist as well as a kind, benevolent figure who hated slavery and secession. But he fought for the South out of duty to the Virginia he so loved. Except that’s not the real Robert E. Lee. Lee did make some grandiose sentiments in favor of liberty on occasion. But he was not only fine with owning slaves, he fought a court case to keep his father-in-law’s slaves who’ve been promised their freedom after the old man died. He lost Documents show he was anything but the kind, benevolent man he’s portrayed as, at least as far as his family’s slaves are concerned. In fact, Lee opposed virtually any pro-emancipation cause that would’ve actually freed slaves and harshly condemned abolitionists. During his invasion into Pennsylvania, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would abduct free blacks for enslavement. His men also massacred black Union soldiers who tried to surrender during the Battle of Crater and paraded the survivors through the streets of Petersburg, Virginia. Lee never discouraged such behavior because he didn’t believe blacks shouldn’t be treated as human beings. And he certainly believed in white supremacy after the war since he argued against black enfranchisement, raged against Republican efforts to enforce racial equality in the South, and allowed students at Washington College to establish their own Klu Klux Klan chapter, rape black schoolgirls, and attempt lynchings. Besides, when the Civil War broke out, Lee first asked permission to sit out of the war altogether. While he did anguish whether to maintain his oath of loyalty to the US Army or fight on behalf of his state and slavery, he chose the latter. Fittingly enough, he sent a letter of resignation to the War Department via slave. Lee then wrote another letter expressing that he didn’t believe Virginia yet had full justification to secede, he knew he chose against the wishes of his wife and children (as well as several other family members). Besides, Virginians like Winfield Scott, George Henry Thomas, his own cousins Fitzgerald and  Samuel Phillips Lee, future West Virginians, and 40% of Virginia’s officers remained loyal to the Union. As for being a brilliant strategist, well, despite being an accomplished tactician and winning individual battles, many historians consider his decision to fight against a more industrialized and densely populated North as a fatal strategic error. But even if he was as great military commander, Lee was still responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of black people. Lee’s elevation as hero is a key part of Lost Cause mythology designed to erase slavery as the cause of the Civil War and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. Perhaps the most fitting monument to General Robert E. Lee is the national military cemetery on his lawn at Arlington. If you want a Confederate general to idolize, may I suggest James Longstreet? At least he embraced equal rights for blacks after the Civil War and took on white supremacists in New Orleans with an integrated police force. But that’s why Lost Cause folks hate his guts.

Even more disturbing is that many of these Confederate monuments aren’t just in the states that seceded from the Union. You have plenty in border states fighting for the Union, in Union states, and states that in 1861 were mere territories. One particular example is Kentucky whose government didn’t side with the Confederacy and two thirds of Kentuckians fought for the Union. But you wouldn’t know that from a state swamped in Confederate monuments. And one of these has to be a 35-story obelisk at Jefferson Davis’s birthplace in Fairview. In Arizona, the oldest Confederate Memorial was dedicated in 1943 while the newest went up in 2010. Of course, they were erected by the thousands of white Southerners who moved there and took their fondness for intimidating blacks with them. In Helena, Montana, a Confederate Memorial Fountain has sat in its Hill Park since 1916 which author James W. Loewen said, “tells that the Confederacy should be revered even as far north as Montana.” You might wonder why there are Confederate monuments outside the former Confederacy since they seem to no reason to exist there. But when you figure that segregation wasn’t just restricted to the South but stretched across a nation more concerned about unity in the face of foreign threats than rights for black people, it makes a lot more sense.

Nevertheless, these enduring tributes to white supremacy and black enslavement still stand in a nation that hasn’t moved past America’s original sin and has refused to address racism’s pernicious and ubiquitous nature. To say that these Confederate monuments only as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said, “immediately begs the questions, why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks. But as the immense presence of Confederate monuments and symbols show there’s a lot of love for the losing side of an unjust cause. There should be nothing but condemnation and dishonor for those who seceded from the Union and fought for the privilege of keeping black people under involuntary servitude. Removing Confederate symbols and monuments will not erase history nor does it denigrate anyone’s Southern heritage. But the effort to topple them is about more than symbolism. Rather it’s about starting a conversation about a community’s shared values and beliefs along with our understanding as a nation. It’s about acknowledging, understanding, and reconcile past injustices as we address those of today. And lastly, it’s about us as a people being able to choose a better future for ourselves and make right what was wrong. Our historical monuments not only depict our history but also enshrine value we choose to promote. As a nation founded on the principles of liberty, equality and democracy, these Confederate monuments stand to extol values anathema to such ideas. Confederate monuments don’t belong on a pedestal in a public space. So it’s long past time to take them down.

State Birds That Should Be

John Oliver has once said that there are two things that American states are bad at: civil rights and state birds. Of course, anyone who’s studied African American history would understand the former, especially since the states’ lousiness to utter lack of interest in protecting civil rights was the driving reason in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, I’ve written a few posts explaining why that is (such as one on the Charleston shooting and the Confederate Flag). However, I haven’t brushed on the other subject like state birds. Now I know it’s not nearly important but we have to understand that while the Founding Fathers were absolutely right to name the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, our states have been absolutely horrible in selecting a bird that best represents them. I mean there are several states with the same one like the Northern Mockingbird, the Northern Cardinal, the Eastern Bluebird, the Eastern Goldfinch, the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Western Meadowlark, the Mountain Bluebird, and the American Robin as well as others with birds that don’t seem to really represent them. Some aren’t even very unique. For instance, as a native and lifelong resident in Pennsylvania, I have never seen a Ruffed Grouse. I have seen a Great Blue Heron, a seagull, a Norther Harrier, a Bufflehead, and even a Pilated Woodpecker in my area. But I have never seen a freaking Ruffed Grouse in Pennsylvania in all of my freaking life. Not a single one. Maybe the wild turkey might not be a great national symbol but it would’ve been a way better state bird for Pennsylvania than the Ruffed Grouse. At least I’ve seen wild turkeys from my neck of the woods. Nevertheless, we have 50 states in the US as well as hundreds of native birds in our country to choose from. It’s not like several states have to pick the same one. Here I list my opinion for what I think should be the state bird for each of the 50 states of the United States of America.

  1. Alabama
While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama's association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama’s association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

Official State Bird: Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer)

Why It Sucks: For one, this bird was chosen with its association to Confederate soldiers, which may be something Alabama may take pride in. However, I’m sure this bird’s association with Confederacy won’t sit well with the state’s minority populations. Also, there’s not a lot of flickers in Alabama anyway.

Best Candidate: Northern Mockingbird

Why: Sure I know it’s a common and boring bird. But Alabama was a major center of the American Civil Rights Movement as well as home to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, a book closely identified with it. Besides, the Civil Rights Movement was a major event that put Alabama on the map and what most people identify this state with. Still, if the Northern Mockingbird has to be a state bird, then it should be in Alabama.

Other Options: Blue Jay, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Brown Pelican, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Cockated Woodpecker

  1. Alaska
Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it's even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it’s even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Official State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan

Why It Sucks: It’s a very common bird in Alaska, which is home to 69 species of birds that only breed there. It’s also not a bird most people imagine when they think about Alaska. Also, the name is dumb.

Best Candidate: Snowy Owl

Why: Well, I might be biased since Harry Potter owned one named Hedwig. However, this is possibly one of the birds someone imagines when they think about Alaska. This is a majestic, arctic bird of prey, which has all the makings of a truly great state bird that Alaska can be proud of.

Other Options: Horned Puffin, Gyrfalcon, Arctic Tern, Arctic Loon, Pacific Loon, Aleutian Tern, Little Auk, Great Gray Owl, Glaucous Gull, America Tree Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Emperor Goose, Wood Duck, American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Horned Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Boreal Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin, Greater Scaup, Sandhill Crane, Semipalmated Plover, American Golden Plover, Solitary Sandpiper

  1. Arizona
While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

Official State Bird: Cactus Wren

Why It Sucks: Not bad, Arizona. After all this is a desert state and the Cactus Wren is a desert bird. However, I’m not sure if it’s unique enough since Arizona isn’t the only desert state.

Best Candidate: Gila Woodpecker

Why: Well, they’re very adaptable birds in the Sonoran Desert and are associated with Saguaro cactus and Mesquite. Besides, while the Cactus Wren looks boring, the Gila Woodpecker has neat zebra wings. Not to mention, it has a bigger range than the Cactus Wren.

Other Options: Anna’s Hummingbird, California Condor, Yellow Junco, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Magnificent Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Steller’s Jay, Gilded Flicker, Phainopepla, Painted Whitestart, Bullock’s Oriole, Ferruginous Hawk, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mexican Jay, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Gray Hawk, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Red-Faced Warbler, Gambel’s Quail

  1. Arkansas
The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: Because it’s the state bird of 5 states and Arkansas has one of the worst reasons to claim it.

Best Candidate: Pileated Woodpecker

Why: Now this is possibly the largest woodpecker in North America (if the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is extinct by this point). Not to mention, its large size gives it a strong unmistakable presence. It’s also very adaptable in forest and other environments unlike the Ivory-Billed. Still, this is a very awesome and unique American bird.

Other Options: Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, Easter Towhee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, American Crow, Eastern Whippoorwill, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Painted Bunting

  1. California
Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it's been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It's also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it’s been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It’s also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Official State Bird: California Quail

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique bird for California. But it’s been misplaced in a lot of movies that some people think it lives almost anywhere (thanks to Disney, no doubt). Also, it’s a game bird and not one that embodies the spirit of the state.

Best Candidate: California Condor

Why: Because this scavenging vulture is the largest land birds of North America as well as one of the longest living. Not to mention, the state managed to have a successful breeding program and helped reintroduce them in the wild. It’s also a significant bird to California Native American tribes as well as plays an important role in several of their myths. It’s not an attractive bird but it’s a remarkable bird nevertheless.

Other Options: Western Gull, California Gull, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Pacific Loon, Laysan Albatross, Red-Billed Tropicbird, California Thrasher, Yellow-Billed Magpie, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Violet-Green Swallow, Cassin’s Kingbird, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting, Tufted Duck, Clark’s Grebe, Black Storm Petrel, Brandt’s Cormorant, California Towhee, White-Tailed Kite, Flammulated Owl, Spotted Owl, Black Phoebe, American Dipper, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Acorn Woodpecker, California Least Tern, Mountain Quail

  1. Colorado
The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek

The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek “strutting display” as groups of females observe and select the most attractive to mate with. And only a few males do most of the breeding.

Official State Bird: Lark Bunting

Why It Sucks: Yes, it’s a unique bird and the male is quite nice looking but it’s quite rare even in its own state.

Best Candidate: Gunnison Sage Grouse

Why: It is one of the rarest birds in North America and its population is only in a small area of Colorado. It’s also a truly unique bird in its own right with a great feather display and are notable in their unique courtship rituals. Also, most experts recommend this.

Other Options: Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Calliope Hummingbird, Brown Capped Rosy Finch, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Greater Sage Grouse, American Three-Toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Brown-Capped Rosy Finch, Boreal Owl

  1. Connecticut
Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they're also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they're known to chase hawks and owls.

Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they’re also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they’re known to chase hawks and owls.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird in 3 states which means that Connecticut should find a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Blue Jay

Why: For one, it’s a common North American bird and a rather iconic one. It’s also a rather feisty bird known to chase predatory birds like hawks and owls as well as make a variety of sounds. Besides, it’s been cited in a couple of works by Mark Twain, one of Connecticut’s most famous residents (and let’s just say the state is home to a lot of celebrities). Why the Blue Jay isn’t already a state bird in this country, I have no idea. But it’s a better choice than the American Robin.

Other Options: Killdeer, Great Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Connecticut Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Delaware
Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a

Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a “broken wing display” in order to direct a predator’s attention away from its chicks. Of course, human activity at beaches has led to a population decline that conservationists have reserved beaches for them during breeding season.

Official State Bird: Delaware Blue Hen

Why It Sucks: Face it, it’s a domesticated chicken that makes for a very lame mascot at one of its universities. Not to mention, it’s not even recognized as a chicken breed for God’s sake. It’s just a state bird due its significance in a Revolutionary War regiment in the state. And its main use was in cockfighting. Real nice. Yeah, it’s a stupid state bird in a state that’s only known for Joe Biden, corporate friendly tax rates, Dr. Oz, and not much else.

Best Candidate: Piping Plover

Why: For one, the Delaware Audubon Society has a whole article on it as an Endangered Species. Second, it’s a shorebird and is quite small and Delaware is home to a lot of coastal birds. Third, Delaware even has a program to restore this bird’s population, which has led to the state closing a beach section during its breeding season. And like Delaware, it doesn’t look anything special.

Other Options: Red Knot, Seaside Sparrow, Purple Martin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Florida
Now the American Flamingo isn't as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it's only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it's still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn't Florida's state bird already is beyond me.

Now the American Flamingo isn’t as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it’s only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it’s still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn’t Florida’s state bird already is beyond me.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states with one of them being Texas. Florida has one of the worst excuses since it has a rather diverse bird population, particularly in the Everglades which was designated as a National Park to preserve some of them. And all the birds they could’ve had to represent their state, they had to pick a small one that’s found everywhere. Really? That’s stupid.

Best Candidate: American Flamingo

Why: Basically, it’s such an iconic bird in Florida that it’s their unofficial state bird already. Of course, they’re not as common as they used to be in the state but as 2015, it’s been said that they’ve returned to the Everglades since about 147 have been seen there during the latest breeding season. Still, when you think of Florida, the American Flamingo is the first bird you think about. This is mostly because its likeness has been used in many tacky lawn decorations by Florida residents and others.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, American White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Sora, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Calliope Hummingbird, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Florida Scrub-Jay, Purple Martin, Painted Bunting, Hooded Merganser, Tricolored Heron, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Smooth-Billed Ani, Reddish Egret

  1. Georgia
The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It's said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you'd expect for their size.

The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It’s said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you’d expect for their size.

Official State Bird: Brown Thrasher

Why It Sucks: Well, for one, it’s not a compelling bird. Also, it had a hockey team named the Atlanta Thrashers which relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames. It’s also a rather common bird in the Southeastern US. Other than that, it’s not a terrible choice, just not one I think is good for Georgia.

Best Candidate: Eastern Towhee

Why: It is a large and striking species of sparrow that stands out better than the Brown Thrasher. Sure it’s a common eastern bird but it’s a permanent resident of Georgia as well as carries a nice sound, too. It’s also more common than a Brown Thrasher.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Audubon’s Shearwater, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, American White Ibis, Black Vulture, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike

  1. Hawaii
The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

Official State Bird: Nene (Hawaiian Goose)

Why It Sucks: Now the Nene might seem like a great tropical state bird for Hawaii since it’s rather unique to the islands. However, the fact that it’s a goose is kind of disappointing to say the least. Besides, Hawaii must have other more interesting species than this one. Not the kind of bird I’d want to see on a postcard from there.

Best Candidate: Pueo (Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl)

Why: Well, because this owl is a rather significant bird in Hawaiian folklore as one of the physical forms of the ancestor spirits. It is deemed as a sacred family protector and bringer of good luck, despite being endangered. Besides, an owl is a better state bird than a goose any day of the week.

Other Options: Brant Goose, Laysan Albatross, Black-Footed Albatross, Hawaiian Petrel, Bonin Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Black Noddy, Kauaʻi ʻelepaio, Oʻahu ʻelepaio, Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio, ʻŌmaʻo, Nihoa Finch, Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, Liwi, ʻAnianiau, ʻApapane, Red Crested Cardinal, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Stilt

  1. Idaho
Now the Pinyon Jay isn't a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Now the Pinyon Jay isn’t a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Because it shares its state bird with Nevada. Not to mention, there aren’t many in that state.

Best Candidate: Pinyon Jay

Why: Well, for one, Idaho State University has a press venture named after it. Second, despite it appearing in a few southern Idaho counties, it seems to have a rather special place in that state. However, unlike the Mountain Bluebird, the Pinyon Jay is said to be seen in Idaho every month of the year, especially during the summer.

Other Options: Franklin’s Gull, Western Gull, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Band-Tailed Pidgeon, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Great Gray Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Gray Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Bullock’s Oriole, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Rufous Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcon, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, White-Throated Swift, Boreal Owl

  1. Illinois
The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It's the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It's said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It’s the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It’s said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: Because the Northern Cardinal is the state bird for 7 states. That’s more than how many states have been home to Abraham Lincoln who spent most of his life there.

Best Candidate: Greater Prairie Chicken

Why: While it’s not as common in Illinois as the Northern Cardinal and only found in Southern Illinois, it’s nevertheless a rather unique bird to the state. They also kind of have a great combination of Springfield folksiness you’d associate with Lincoln as well as the badassery and rowdiness you’d associate with Chicago.

Other Options: Common Loon, White Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Goldfinch, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, Dickcissel, Eastern Kingbird, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Indiana
The Bobolink is said to be one of the world's most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it's said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

The Bobolink is said to be one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it’s said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: As with Illinois, it’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than states claiming to be the home of Abraham Lincoln, who spent his later childhood and teenage years there.

Best Candidate: Bobolink

Why: Besides its awesome name and unique appearance, this is a much more unique bird to Indiana than the Northern Cardinal which is everywhere. Bobolinks are only prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Besides, it has an awesome color scheme.

Other Options: White-Breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-Eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Purple Martin, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Iowa
The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Well, despite having a good reason for the Eastern Goldfinch, it’s also the state bird of New Jersey and Washington.

Best Candidate: Dickcissel

Why: Let’s face it, this is a unique bird in the Midwest and Iowa is a state best known for its agriculture. It also has a great unique name as well as polygynous mating habits, which is rare for a songbird. But it kind of fits well how Iowa was one of the first states to legalize gay marriage, a measure nobody expected.

Other Options: Red-Winged Blackbird, Greater Prairie Chicken, American Kestrel, Rough-Legged Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Barn Owl, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Mississippi Kite, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Kansas
The American Crow is a true survivor since it's highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They're also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

The American Crow is a true survivor since it’s highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They’re also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

Official State Bird:  Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states, including a couple of its neighbors.

Best Candidate: American Crow

Why: Because the American Crow is among one of the smartest and most underrated North American Birds. Not to mention, Kansas has dealt with a lot of crap during its history such as tornadoes, violent disputes over slavery, the Dust Bowl, terrible school boards, and Sam Brownback. The American Crow has been seen as a pest and there have been efforts to eliminate it. But still, it’s a very resilient and adaptable bird that also fulfills a key purpose like Kansas. So I think it’s one that represents Kansas the best. Besides, it’s about time the American Crow should be a state bird.

Other Options: Ruffed Grouse, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Mississippi Kite, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Barn Owl, Prairie Falcon, Dickcissel, Whooping Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Kentucky
The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a

The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a “blue cardinal” because that’s what it pretty much is.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than those who claim to be the Land of Lincoln. Of course, this was where Lincoln was born.

Best Candidate: Blue Grosbeak

Why: For one, it’s in the same family as the Northern Cardinal. Second, since Kentucky is known as “the Bluegrass State” it’s only fair that it should be represented by a bird with blue feathers. I think it’s a good compromise.

Other Options: Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, American Kestrel, Kentucky Warbler, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak, Red-Winged Blackbird. American Crow, Purple Martin, Blue Grosbeak, American Kestrel, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Louisiana
Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn't spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana's state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn’t spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana’s state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Official State Bird: Brown Pelican

Why It Sucks: Well, this isn’t a bad state bird since Louisiana is known as “the Pelican State.” But it’s not an attractive bird. Also, it’s not even the pelican that appears on its state flag. Besides, it’s not a common bird in Louisiana.

Best Candidate: American White Pelican

Why: Because the pelican on the Louisiana State Flag is always white, not brown. To have the American White Pelican as its state bird would make much better sense. And unlike the Brown Pelican, it does spend time in Louisiana (though it doesn’t necessarily breed there).

Other Options: Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Wood Duck, Wood Stork, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Belted Kingfisher, Crested Caracara, Louisiana Waterthrush, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Maine
The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine's most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Massachusetts. It’s also a rather common American bird as well. It’s cute but Maine can do better.

Best Candidate: Atlantic Puffin

Why: It’s not a common bird in Maine (residing on 5 islands off the coast) but it has at least 2 things going for it, especially since attempts to restore it to its historical range have been successful in the state. For one, it’s one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers. There are even boating tours to see these birds during the summer. Second, it’s basically the only state in the US where these adorable Subarctic birds reside. Thus, while it’s adorable, it’s also one of the most unique birds in Maine.

Other Options: Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Spruce Grouse, Blue Jay, American Kestrel, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Philadelphia Vireo, Common Raven, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Seaside Sparrow, Red Wing Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Maryland
Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he's most famous for

Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he’s most famous for “The Raven” so would the Common Raven. Not to mention, Maryland is home to the Baltimore Ravens but we’ll discuss Ray Lewis’s murder allegations nevermore.

Official State Bird: Baltimore Oriole

Why It Sucks: While it does make sense for Maryland to have this as their state bird as well as a name of Baltimore’s Major League Baseball team, there aren’t many in the state.

Best Candidate: Common Raven

Why: Aside from the Baltimore Oriole, this is the other bird identified with Maryland. Edgar Allan Poe is associated with the city of Baltimore despite the fact he only lived there for 2 years and dying there in 1849 under interesting circumstances. Nevertheless, he’s buried there though. He’s best known for his poem, “The Raven” from where the Baltimore Ravens get their name (though they were previously the Cleveland Browns before moving there). Sure it might not be a common bird in the state, but it’s a rather significant one due to its connection to Poe and American Literature. Besides, more people are familiar with Poe’s “The Raven” than Lord Baltimore.

Other Options: Osprey, Barnacle Goose, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Wood Stork, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Killdeer, Royal Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, American Oystercatcher, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Massachusetts
Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they're actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can't fly higher than a quarter mile.

Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they’re actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can’t fly higher than a quarter mile.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Maine. Cute but Massachusetts can do better.

Best Candidate: Wild Turkey

Why: For one, it’s the Massachusetts state game bird so it probably has reasonable appeal as a state symbol. Second, like Massachusetts, it’s associated with Thanksgiving, an American national holiday. Third, it was even recommended as a national symbol by Benjamin Franklin who was a native of Boston. Let’s just say between this bird and the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Wild Turkey is a more appropriate choice for Massachusetts’ state bird.

Other Options: Kirtland’s Warbler, Piping Plover, Blue Jay, Chimney Swift, Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Dark-Eyed Junco, Great Blue Heron, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Norther Goshawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Common Tern, Red Wing Blackbird, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Michigan
Kirtland's Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan's jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear's guts.

Kirtland’s Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan’s jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear’s guts.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird in 3 states in the country. Time for Michigan to find a new state bird. Besides, it’s a very common bird anyway when the state can do better.

Best Candidate: Kirtland’s Warbler

Why: For one it’s a bird that pretty much resides in this state which was almost extinct nearly 50 years ago, but they’ve made a recovery. It’s now classified as Near Threatened. Also, it has a community college named after it. Still, it would be a better bird than the American Robin.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Great Blue Heron, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cave Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Shrike, Eastern Kingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Owl, Killdeer, Red-Tailed Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Dark-Eyed Junco, Cooper’s Hawk, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black Tern, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Minnesota
Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it's home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it’s home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Official State Bird: Common Loon

Why It Sucks: Well, the Common Loon is a nice bird. But it usually resides more often in Michigan than Minnesota (even if the latter has a lot of lakes) as well as winters on the American Coast. Minnesota may be in the Great Lakes region but it’s more of an inland state.

Best Candidate: Golden-Winged Warbler

Why: For one, it’s more common in Minnesota than the Common Loon. Second, it’s known to breed in this state as well as in Wisconsin. Still, it may not be a Common Loon but it’s a rather magnificent and more appropriate bird for the state.

Other Options: Sedge Wren, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Parasitic Jaeger, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Piping Plover, Common Tern, Common Redpoll, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Capped Chickadee, Wood Duck, Scarlet Tanager, Great Blue Heron, Blackburnian Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ruffed Grouse, Trumpeter Swan, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Tern, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Mississippi
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states in the country. I’m sure Mississippi has a more diverse bird population that it could do better.

Best Candidate: Great Blue Heron

Why: Let’s just say it’s a prevalent bird in the Mississippi and the Great Egret is already a symbol for The Audubon Society. Mississippi is also known to have wetlands and waterways which the Great Blue Heron is well suited for. Besides, it’s a better state bird choice than the Northern Mockingbird.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Egret, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Herring Gull, American Crow, American Coot, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Belted Kingfisher, Mississippi Kite, Killdeer, Anhinga, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Missouri
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator's intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator’s intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird as New York. And it’s not as common as you might think due to having to compete with invasive species like sparrows and starlings.

Best Candidate: American Kestrel

Why: Missouri has often been in the middle of a lot of stuff during its history. It was a border state during the antebellum years as well as the starting point in the Oregon Trail. It had residents fight on both sides during the American Civil War and was the home of Quantrill’s Raiders (that included the James brothers). Besides, it has a reputation as a bellwether state and is home to a lot of wildlife diversity. And since the American Kestrel is a common bird of prey that lives in a variety of habitats as well as resides in the state year round, I can’t think of better bird to represent the state. Not to mention, it’s known to be quite feisty like Missouri native Harry Truman.

Other Options: Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Blue Jay, Easter Whippoorwill, Henslow’s Sparrow, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Coot, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red Wing Blackbird, Barn Owl, Purple Martin, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Montana
McCown's Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

McCown’s Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s a state bird of 6 states. Besides, Montana is the home to a lot of birds as well, which doesn’t give it much of an excuse.

Best Candidate: McCown’s Longspur

Why: Because it mostly breeds in this state during the summer (along with Wyoming). They also are known for characteristic aerial and song displays. It’s a more unique bird to the state than the Western Meadowlark.

Other Options: Vesper Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Dusky Grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Great Gray Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-Billed Magpie, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, American Crow, Bullock’s Oriole, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pinyon Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Sprauge’s Pipit, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Trumpeter Swan, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Boreal Owl

  1. Nebraska
The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska's Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there's even a Crane festival in March.

The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska’s Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there’s even a Crane festival in March.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird of 6 states. Time for Nebraska to find something else to represent their state.

Best Candidate: Sandhill Crane

Why: Because 500,000 of these birds return to Nebraska’s Platte River every year around February to April. However, it’s one of the largest bird congregation spectacle in North America which brings between 12,000 and 15,000 people to the area each year. There’s even a crane festival in March.

Other Options: Greater Prairie Chicken, Red-Tailed Hawk, Whooping Crane, Killdeer, Blue Jay, Piping Plover, Bobolink, Least Tern, Harris’s Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-Fronted Goose, Mallard Duck, Northern Pintail, Lesser Snow Goose, Black-Billed Magpie, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Nevada
The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I'm sure the male of this species looks like he's straight from Las Vegas.

The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I’m sure the male of this species looks like he’s straight from Las Vegas.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird with Idaho. Besides, Nevada could at least have more showy bird than that. I mean Nevada is famous for tackiness, sin, vice, gambling, quickie divorces, marrying under the influence, materialism, prostitution, atomic testing, and other crazy things. The state bird should reflect that. And the Mountain Bluebird doesn’t really hold a candle to that since it’s too nice.

Best Candidate: Greater Sage Grouse

Why: Despite being more abundant in Wyoming, this is the perfect state bird for Nevada. For one, it inhabits the northern part of state year round. Secondly, the male of the species looks as if you’d expect it to come out of Las Vegas. Not to mention, it has a rather elaborate mating ritual.

Other Options: White-Faced Ibis, Dusky Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Turkey Vulture, Common Black-Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Mountain Plover, Greater Roadrunner, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, Great Gray Owl, Gila Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Tanager, Red Wing Blackbird, Great-Tailed Grackle, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Juniper Titmouse, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper

  1. New Hampshire
The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

Official State Bird: Purple Finch

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s not really purple. Second, the male’s plumage of Neapolitan ice cream getting all mixed up. Third, it’s kind of ugly to say the least.

Best Candidate: Red-Tailed Hawk

Why: Face it, there was a group of 4th graders who wanted it to be their state raptor. Their proposal was turned down in the New Hampshire State Legislature in front of their faces. I think it would be best if the legislature reconvened and named this their state bird instead of the Purple Finch. Besides, its feathers were seen as sacred by many Native American tribes Not only that, but they’re really cool to say the least. Has all kinds of subspecies and morphs, too. Yeah, the Red-Tailed Hawk is awesome and it should be a state bird.

Other Options: Black-Capped Chickadee, American Redstart, Purple Martin, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Goldfinch, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Jersey
The Black Skimmer's remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

The Black Skimmer’s remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird with Iowa and Washington. Also, doesn’t really live up to New Jersey’s reputation if you know what I mean. Besides, it has a better birding acclaim and can do better.

Best Candidate: Black Skimmer

Why: For one, despite New Jersey’s reputation, at least the state is doing something to conserve this bird’s population in its breeding range on the Jersey Shore. Second, you can joke by how this bird’s name describes a lot of New Jersey’s politicians since it has a horrible reputation for corruption.

Other Options: Seaside Sparrow, Wood Duck, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Pie-Billed Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, Royal Tern, Long-Eared Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Mexico
The Steller's Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

The Steller’s Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

Official State Bird: Roadrunner

Why It Sucks: Now this is an appropriate state bird. However, I’m sure there are people in this state who aren’t pleased because they’re fans of Wiley Coyote. Perhaps New Mexico should be represented by a less controversial bird.

Best Candidate: Steller’s Jay

Why: First, it appears in most of New Mexico all year round. Second, its colorful feathers help reflect the state’s vibrant art culture that’s replete with Mexican and Southwest Native American influences. Nevertheless, it’s a very beautiful bird for a state like New Mexico.

Other Options: Chihuahuan Raven, Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Hen Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, White-Eared Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Evening Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon

  1. New York
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It's also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It’s also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird as Missouri. Not to mention, it’s not an appropriate bird to represent the state.

Best Candidate: Peregrine Falcon

Why: For one, New York was a leading state that helped restore its population after it was nearly depleted by DDT and other pesticide. Second, it’s practically the fastest animal on earth with a speed of over 200 mph. Third, it’s a very adaptable bird that has resided almost everywhere. Besides, as a city bird, they are highly beneficial to the ecosystem, especially when it comes to controlling the feral pigeon population, which are outright pests.

Other Options: Cerulean Warbler, Ring-Billed Gull, Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, Red-Tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Prothonotary Warbler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Cape May Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. North Carolina
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it's said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it’s said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Yes, it’s common and it’s pretty. But still, it’s used to represent 7 states, which means it’s time for a more appropriate state bird.

Best Candidate: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Why: Because it’s one of the most loved birds of the state that many people put up hummingbird feeders to watch them. Besides, it’s a beautiful bird in its own right that fits well on a postcard and it’s about time that it should be a state bird. Not to mention, it’s a way better choice than the Northern Cardinal.

Other Options: Carolina Wren, Prothonotary Warbler, Royal Tern, Carolina Chickadee, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Audubon’s Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Brown Pelican, American White Pelican, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Snowy Egret, American White Ibis, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Eastern Whippoorwill, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Red Wing Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cerulean Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. North Dakota
The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America's duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America’s duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. North Dakota needs something more original since it’s said to be quite famous for its birds, particularly its ducks.

Best Candidate: Blue-Winged Teal

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common ducks in North Dakota and not in the nation (which is obviously the Mallard). Second, the state is famous among birders and hunters as America’s duck nursery. So it only makes sense that North Dakota should have a duck as its state bird.

Other Options: Nelson’s Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Scaup, Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, American Avocet, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Baird’s Sparrow, Ruddy Duck, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Ohio
Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it's only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it'll be known as the

Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it’s only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it’ll be known as the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states so yeah, which is as many as Ohio has presidents born there. Ohio needs a new and more original state bird.

Best Candidate: Baltimore Oriole

Why: For one, it has a similar color scheme as the Cincinnati Bengals to some extent. Second, it’s more common in Ohio than Maryland as well as well-loved there. And third, since Baltimore already took Cleveland’s football team and won 2 Super Bowls, I kind of thought it was only fair for Ohio to take Maryland’s current state bird as fair compensation. So in Ohio, this bird will now be called the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Other Options: Willow Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Indigo Bunting, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Whippoorwill, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Easter Kingbird, Blue-Headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Dickissel, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Oklahoma
The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

Official State Bird: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique and interesting bird. But I’m not sure about its feathers which are kind of drab. Besides, Oklahoma can do better.

Best Candidate: Painted Bunting

Why: It is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America and it breeds in this state. Though difficult to find due to a declining population because of people in Central America, Mexico, and Cuba selling them as pets during their migration, Oklahoma is one of 4 states to have a significant population. Still, it’s a truly beautiful bird that should be on a postage stamp.

Other Options: Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, Mississippi Kite, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Scaled Quail, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Common Gallinule, Barn Owl, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird

  1. Oregon
Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America's only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It's also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America’s only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It’s also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. This means that Oregon needs a new state bird. Surely the state has more original avian wildlife than that.

Best Candidate: American Dipper

Why: It’s a mountain bird known to inhabit streams as well as the only aquatic songbird of North America. Its presence indicates good water quality as well as possesses a sweet song. Not to mention, their nests are some of the most extraordinary pieces of bird architecture ever. And like Oregon, it may not look very noteworthy but there are some things about it that make it quite interesting.

Other Options: Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Tufted Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Mountain Quail, Western Grebe, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Northern Fulmar, Green Heron, Green-Tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, White-Tailed Kite, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Heerman’s Gull, Mew Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Western Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Tufted Puffin, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Allen’s Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Steller’s Jay, Pinyon Jay, Black-Billed Magpie, Violet-Green Swallow

  1. Pennsylvania
The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It's also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It’s also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

Official State Bird: Ruffed Grouse

Why It Sucks: As a native and lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I have never seen this bird in my life. And I’m a rural resident as well as lived in this state for 25 years. Nor do I know anyone who has seen them in this state. Besides, it’s said that only 86% of these birds live in Canada. Guess they were all killed by hunters.

Best Candidate: Indigo Bunting

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common nester in Pennsylvania and has been seen in recent years almost everywhere in the state. Second, it has a distinctive sound as well as a bright blue feather display for the males (well, their feathers reflect as blue like the sky in good lighting. In poor lighting, they look black). Third, it’s a bird that’s more or less confined to the Eastern United States during its breeding season. Besides, it’s a more beautiful bird than the Ruffed Grouse.

Other Options: Scarlet Tanager, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Red Wing Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Harrier, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Gray Catbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Killdeer, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Screech-Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Great Crested Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-Headed Vireo, Barred Owl, Eastern Towhee, Purple Martin, Snow Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler

  1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be a small state, but it's part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Rhode Island may be a small state, but it’s part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Official State Bird: Rhode Island Red

Why It Sucks: To put a short story short, it’s a freaking breed of chicken for God’s sake. Seriously, it’s unconscionable like Delaware’s.

Best Candidate: Great Black-Backed Gull

Why: It’s the largest gull in Rhode Island as well as a year-long resident in the state. And since Rhode Island is known for its beaches, it should only be fitting it be represented by a sea gull. Besides, it’s better than having a chicken as state bird.

Other Options: Herring Gull, Snow Bunting, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Common Redpoll, White-Throated Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Ivory Gull, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Laughing Gull, Gull-Billed Tern, Brown Noddy, Band-Rumped Storm Petrel, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, American Black Duck

  1. South Carolina
A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

Official State Bird: Carolina Wren

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s better than having a Northern Mockingbird which they used to have. Besides, it has “Carolina” in it. However, it’s kind of drab and found almost everywhere in the east.

Best Candidate: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Why: South Carolina is the best place to look for this rare species since it lives in cavities in mature pine forests. It’s listed as vulnerable. Besides, it’s prettier than the Carolina Wren.

Other Options: Audubon’s Shearwater, Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, American Black Vulture, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Purple Gallinule, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-Necked Stilt, Carolina Chickadee, Brown Noddy, Royal Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pine Warbler, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Boat-Tailed Grackle

  1. South Dakota
The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

Official State Bird: Ring-Necked Pheasant

Why It Sucks: In short, it’s an introduced Eurasian Plains bird. It was brought over to the US by English settlers who wanted to bring some old country bird to shoot at.

Best Candidate: Upland Sandpiper

Why: While most sandpipers usually favor the coast and mudflats, this bird prefers open country with tall grasses. South Dakota is in the Great Plains which is known for its grassland and prairies. Clearly these two are meant for each other. May not be as flashy as the Ring-Necked Pheasant but at least it’s a native.

Other Options: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Loon, Red-Tailed Hawk, Pied-Bill Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Lazuli Bunting, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker

  1. Tennessee
The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states including Florida and Texas. Seriously, Tennessee needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Wood Duck

Why: Well, I think it provides a perfect combination for what Tennessee represents. It’s rustic enough for the Appalachian and down home country music. But the male is rather strikingly flashy enough for the music culture of Nashville and Memphis. Besides, Tennessee has a conservation program for these with people building boxes for them.

Other Options: Yellow-Throated Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Tennessee Warbler, Killdeer, Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Kestrel, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Purple Martin, Nashville Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Bobwhite Quail

  1. Texas
Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states which includes Florida. Seriously, Texas, you’re the state with an obnoxious ego bigger than your love for oil, firearms, and capital punishment. Your people take special pride in their cowboy culture, state flag, and history that kids all over the country have to learn it in their history class (which is important for the US to be fair but still). Not to mention, you have plenty of species of birds from which to choose from. Own it.

Best Candidate: Aplomado Falcon

Why: Let’s face it, I can go with a lot unique birds here. But I know that Northern Crested Caracara is too much identified with Mexico while the Roseate Spoonbill is a bird the people of Texas would never really be comfortable with. Now I know that this bird doesn’t have much of a range in Texas. But it’s a bird with a Spanish name and it’s said that small birds fear it more than most predators. So I think this is a bird Texans can really take pride in.

Other Options: Black-Crested Titmouse, Olive Sparrow, Cave Swallow, Roseate Spoonbill, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Swainson’s Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Lesser Goldfinch, Audubon’s Shearwater, Painted Bunting, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron, White-Tailed Hawk, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Inca Dove, Grooved-Billed Ani, Elf Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Jay, Mexican Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Black-Crested Titmouse, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Black-Chinned Sparrow, Varied Bunting

  1. Utah
The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it's kind of neglectful, but it's sometimes how nature works, man.

The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of neglectful, but it’s sometimes how nature works, man.

Official State Bird: California Gull

Why It Sucks: Yes, I get it helped save Mormons from a locust swarm or so I’m told. Utahns even have a gold statue of it commemorating the occasion. But it’s a bird with “California” in its name for God’s sake. The state is not near a coastline. Besides, the bird only uses Utah as a migration stop anyway. Not to mention, I’m sure there were plenty of other birds that helped save Mormons from a locust swarm as well.

Best Candidate: Snowy Plover

Why: Well, unlike the California Gull, it actually lives in Utah to breed even if it’s just the Great Salt Lake area.  Still, this is seen as a threatened bird but the state does have a substantial population of them. Besides, it’s quite adorable as well as eats insects.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Gambel’s Quail, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, Swainson’s Hawk, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-Necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Long-Billed Dowitcher, American White Pelican, White-Faced Ibis, Eared Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Violet-Green Swallow, Juniper Titmouse, American Dipper, Lazuli Bunting

  1. Vermont
The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it's said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it’s said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

Official State Bird: Hermit Thrush

Why It Sucks: It’s nice but it doesn’t incite the kind of enthusiasm I’d have for Ben & Jerry, cheese, or Bernie Sanders.

Best Candidate: Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Why: Well, it’s adorable and colorful like some people from Vermont. Besides, it prefers upland forests with tons of old growth. And I’m sure the Green Mountain State has plenty of them. Not to mention, it’s bird that only breeds in the US northeast.

Other Options: Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Black-Capped Chickadee, Snow Bunting, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Red-Tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Horned Lark, Common Redpoll, Eastern Kingbird, Black-Billed Cuckoo, American Woodcock, Veery, Blue-Headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, White-Throated Sparrow, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Osprey, Killdeer

  1. Virginia
The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It's also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you've seen in most bird species, this isn't the case.

The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It’s also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you’ve seen in most bird species, this isn’t the case.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states in the country. Surely a state like Virginia should have a more original state bird than that.

Best Candidate: Belted Kingfisher

Why: Since Virginia is a state with a lot of wetlands and waterways, then this would be a perfect state to be represented by a fishing bird. Not to mention, it’s a permanent resident in Virginia as well as a much better bird for the state than the Cardinal. And unlike the Cardinal, it has no red coat.

Other Options: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Barred Owl, Virginia Rail, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Wood Duck, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Laughing Gull, Great Horned Owl, Whippoorwill, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Eastern Kingbird, Red-Eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Gray Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Green Heron, Tree Swallow, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler, Cooper’s Hawk

  1. Washington
The Spotted Owl's status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it's one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

The Spotted Owl’s status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it’s one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Though known as the “Willow” Goldfinch, it’s basically the same state bird as Iowa and New Jersey but by a different name. Nice try, Washington.

Best Candidate: Spotted Owl

Why: Let’s just say since it’s experienced a significant decline in Washington that it’s near threatened. However, conserving this bird has brought a lot of contention between conservationists, loggers, cattle grazers, and developers. A decision to reinforce a critical habitat for the owl was challenged by The Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association. Thus, because of the controversy the term, Spotted Owl has come to mean, “trivial environmental issues that do nothing but waste land for economic development as well as taxpayer money.” Still, I think saving the Spotted Owl’s habitat is worth it since “old growth” forests are almost impossible to replace. Besides, preserving these “old growth” forests doesn’t just save the owls either.

Other Options: Glaucous-Winged Gull, Evening Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Loon, Violet-Green Swallow, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Ferruginous Hawk, Black Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl

  1. West Virginia
The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Now I’m sure West Virginia might have some good excuse on this since the state is an environmental disaster area. But still, I don’t imagine a Northern Cardinal when I think about West Virginia. Besides, it’s the state bird of Virginia as well which West Virginia split from during the American Civil War because it wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy.

Best Candidate: Cerulean Warbler

Why: It’s a common breeding bird in West Virginia despite the fact it’s the fastest declining songbird in North America as well as prefers mature forests with closed canopies as its habitat. But despite West Virginia’s environmental problems, these birds seem to love it there that they return there to breed every year.

Other Options: Swainson’s Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Northern Bobwhite, Black Scoter, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Chimney Swift, Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Golden-Winged Warbler, Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Bicknell’s Thrush

  1. Wisconsin
The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they've been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they’ve been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 3 states. This means that Wisconsin needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Trumpeter Swan

Why: Well, it’s one of the most notable native birds of North America. Besides, Wisconsin had a successful recovery for them since the 1980s which has been quite successful. Besides, it doesn’t look half bad on postcards.

Other Options: Golden-Winged Warbler, Sandhill Crane, Cooper’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Killdeer, Purple Martin, Common Loon, Common Merganser, Bobolink, Greater Prairie Chicken, Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Indigo Bunting, Whippoorwill, Dickcissel, Blue-Winged Teal, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Whooping Crane

  1. Wyoming
The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It's also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It’s also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. Obviously, Wyoming probably has a bird diversity that gives it no excuse.

Best Candidate: Ferruginous Hawk

Why: Well, Wyoming is home to all kinds of cool wildlife that I can’t think of a better bird to represent it than the largest hawk in North America. Besides, hawks are cool.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Loon, Swainson’s Hawk, Pinyon Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s Jay, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Spotted Owl, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Violet-Green Swallow, Snow Bunting, Lazuli Bunting, Prairie Falcon, Great Gray Owl, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Tanager

Rally Around the Flag – Or Not

Collection-national-flags

You might remember me talking about the US Flag in my “How to Treat an American Flag” article a I posted earlier this year. Or you might’ve read my longer and more serious article of why the Confederate Flag should be removed as well as debunked the most common claims of keeping it around. However, this is a post about flags, because after all they’re quite important emblems of certain groups and entities whether they be countries, states, provinces, cities, or what not. Thus, in many ways they tend to be symbols. A well designed flag will inspire pride than one made otherwise. There’s also a study of flag design called Vexillology and people in this field believe that a well-designed flag should fit these criteria (from the Portland Flag Association).

  1. Keep It Simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory…
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism. The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes…
  3. Use 2 or 3 Basic Colors. Limit the number of colors on the flag to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set…
  4. No Lettering or Seals. Never use writing on any kind or an organization’s seal…
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related. Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections…

Now I can go on and on about all the great flags out there. But you’d be bored to tears sh I’ll show you a collection of designs that made people wonder, what the hell they were thinking? Because when you have great flags inspiring patriotism and pride, there are others that lead people to keep them as far away from the public spotlight as possible. So for your reading pleasure, here are some not so great flags from around the world. By the way, if I insult anyone’s flag, I deeply apologize.

1. Venice, Italy

Granted, this was derived from the old flag of the Venice Republic. But still, while the winged lion with a book is actually cool, it's surrounded by too many border designs. Also, on the borders are 7 tiny little flags or coats of arms. I can't tell. I'd more or less expect such design to be on a box for a D&D game.

Granted, this was derived from the old flag of the Venice Republic. But still, while the winged lion with a book is actually cool, it’s surrounded by too many border designs. Also, on the borders are 7 tiny little flags or coats of arms. I can’t tell. I’d more or less expect such design to be on a box for a D&D game.

2. Chimbu, Papua New Guinea

Now I think the stars and the bird are fine. But with the crossed branches over a circle? I think the province is kind of overdoing it. A plain green sash would've been fine. Really.

Now I think the stars and the bird are fine. But with the crossed branches over a circle? I think the province is kind of overdoing it. A plain green sash would’ve been fine. Really.

3. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Canada

This is a tiny island territory off the coast of Newfoundland. The three  flags on the left are supposed to represent the Basques, Bretons, and Normans. However, the boat seems to be drawn straight from a Saturday morning cartoon. Or an educational cartoon about Christopher Columbus from the 1970s.

This is a tiny island territory off the coast of Newfoundland. The three flags on the left are supposed to represent the Basques, Bretons, and Normans. However, the boat seems to be drawn straight from a Saturday morning cartoon. Or an educational cartoon about Christopher Columbus from the 1970s.

4. Louisiana, United States

For one, the comma is missing between,

For one, the comma is missing between, “union and “justice.” However, while the image appears initially wholesome of a mother pelican feeding her babies, it gets quite disturbing when you realize that she’s feeding them with her own blood. Yikes! Seriously, what’s the matter with you, Louisiana? And those drops of blood were only added in 2006. Really.

5. Ishikawa, Japan

Apparently, Japanese Kanji doesn't translate well into certain fonts. From looking at this, Americans might get the impression that Ishikawa is an obscure  Japanese auto corporation instead of  a civic entity that it really is.

Apparently, Japanese Kanji doesn’t translate well into certain fonts. From looking at this, Americans might get the impression that Ishikawa is an obscure Japanese auto corporation instead of a civic entity that it really is.

6. Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada

Now this is for a homeland in northern Labrador in Canada. The symbol is supposed to be derived in Inukshuk origin. However, to many it resembles an abstract art rendition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Must give a lot of Inuk children nightmares.

Now this is for a homeland in northern Labrador in Canada. The symbol is supposed to be derived in Inukshuk origin. However, to many it resembles an abstract art rendition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Must give a lot of Inuk children nightmares.

7. Glarus, Switzerland

Now this consists of a frowning monk with a halo, a staff resembling an antenna, and a book all in yellow. Guess this guy's frowning due to his inability to bring the word of God to the extraterrestrials.

Now this consists of a frowning monk with a halo, a staff resembling an antenna, and a book all in yellow. Guess this guy’s frowning due to his inability to bring the word of God to the extraterrestrials.

8. Marijampole, Lithuania

I know the guy is supposed to be sowing seeds, but I can't help but look at this and get the impression of the Quaker Oats guy throwing out Rice Krispies. Also, the border does little to give this flag any dignity whatsoever.

I know the guy is supposed to be sowing seeds, but I can’t help but look at this and get the impression of the Quaker Oats guy throwing out Rice Krispies. Also, the border does little to give this flag any dignity whatsoever.

9. Connacht, Ireland

Guess the inspiration for this one was a major disagreement between whether the a black eagle or an arm with sword would be more badass. The factions settled on a compromise and got this. Yeah, should've went with one or the other.

Guess the inspiration for this one was a major disagreement between whether the a black eagle or an arm with sword would be more badass. The factions settled on a compromise and got this. Yeah, should’ve went with one or the other.

10. Buddhism

For one, Buddhism has a flag? Secondly, this resembles a TV test pattern that's usually accompanied by a high pitched beep at 4 a.m. But I'm sure the designer didn't know that.

For one, Buddhism has a flag? Secondly, this resembles a TV test pattern that’s usually accompanied by a high pitched beep at 4 a.m. But I’m sure the designer didn’t know that.

11. Benin Empire

Now this was the flag for the Pre-Colonial Benin Empire situated in modern Nigeria which lasted from 1440-1897. From looking at this flag I guess their motto was,

Now this was the flag for the Pre-Colonial Benin Empire situated in modern Nigeria which lasted from 1440-1897. From looking at this flag I guess their motto was, “Get in my personal space and I’ll cut your bloody head off!” Yeah, decapitation is just a wonderful flag motif.

12. Guam, United States

Think of it as a cross between a cheap souvenir T-shirt from the Bahamas and a Georgia O'Keefe painting.  Now imagine if such combination was drawn by a third grader. Sorry, Guam, but your flag is just ugly.

Think of it as a cross between a cheap souvenir T-shirt from the Bahamas and a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Now imagine if such combination was drawn by a third grader. Sorry, Guam, but your flag is just ugly.

13. Fryslan, the Netherlands

For some reason, I can't help looking at this flag and imagine it being a pattern on somebody's underwear. I just don't know why.

For some reason, I can’t help looking at this flag and imagine it being a pattern on somebody’s underwear. I just don’t know why.

14. Isle of Man, Great Britain

It's said that the three-legged triskelion was a symbol in Mycenae and Lycia back in Ancient Greece. However, I think it's rather creepy as hell if you ask me. Three detached legs with no body doesn't look right to me for some reason.

It’s said that the three-legged triskelion was a symbol in Mycenae and Lycia back in Ancient Greece. However, I think it’s rather creepy as hell if you ask me. Three detached legs with no body doesn’t look right to me for some reason.

15. Antwerp, Belgium

Either this is a closeup image from MS Paint or a NASCAR flag on acid. Any way you put it, it's quite horrendous if you get my drift.

Either this is a closeup image from MS Paint or a NASCAR flag on acid. Any way you put it, it’s quite horrendous if you get my drift.

16. Mozambique

Now the hoe and the book convey the best interests Mozambique wants for its people. But an AK-47? Could you imagine anything worse than that on a flag for an African nation? Seriously, why?

Now the hoe and the book convey the best interests Mozambique wants for its people. But an AK-47? Could you imagine anything worse than that on a flag for an African nation? Seriously, why?

17. Swaziland

While the colors schemes are fine, I'm not sure about the weapons. Yes, shields and spears are part of that country's traditional African culture, but still. Having weapons on your flag kind of sends the wrong message. And given the highly negative stereotypes about Africa, Swaziland ought to know better.

While the colors schemes are fine, I’m not sure about the weapons. Yes, shields and spears are part of that country’s traditional African culture, but still. Having weapons on your flag kind of sends the wrong message. And given the highly negative stereotypes about Africa, Swaziland ought to know better.

18. Northern Marianas Islands, United States

Well, there's at least someone in the Northern Marianas Island who knows how to use a computer. Unfortunately, the inhabitants didn't realize that designing a flag from clip art isn't a great idea.

Well, there’s at least someone in the Northern Marianas Island who knows how to use a computer. Unfortunately, the inhabitants didn’t realize that designing a flag from clip art isn’t a great idea.

19. U. S. Virgin Islands, United States

Now I have to admit, this flag would look great as a design for a license plate. But as an actual flag? Not so much. Also, I'm sure that eagle emblem came straight out of clip art.

Now I have to admit, this flag would look great as a design for a license plate. But as an actual flag? Not so much. Also, I’m sure that eagle emblem came straight out of clip art.

20. Lombardy, Italy

No, this isn't a flag from Comic Con or for a video game competition. It's from a region in Italy that probably invented jacks or the paperweight. If neither, then I'm not sure why they'd design their flag that way.

No, this isn’t a flag from Comic Con or for a video game competition. It’s from a region in Italy that probably invented jacks or the paperweight. If neither, then I’m not sure why they’d design their flag that way.

21. Antarctica

Yes, Antarctica has a flag. It has no inhabitants, no government, and no culture. But it has a flag with its landmass on it. Should've went with a penguin instead.

Yes, Antarctica has a flag. It has no inhabitants, no government, and no culture. But it has a flag with its landmass on it. Should’ve went with a penguin instead.

22. Bermuda

Hmmm....a flag with a picture of a lion holding a picture of a shipwreck mid-plunge. Granted, it was discovered this way by a ship en route to Virginia. Kind of suggests that self-governance isn't Bermuda's strong suit. As for me, Bermuda should've used a flag depicting a pair of Bermuda shorts.

Hmmm….a flag with a picture of a lion holding a picture of a shipwreck mid-plunge. Granted, it was discovered this way by a ship en route to Virginia. Kind of suggests that self-governance isn’t Bermuda’s strong suit. As for me, Bermuda should’ve used a flag depicting a pair of Bermuda shorts.

23. Alo Island, Wallis and Futuna, France

Basically this is for a French territory in the South Pacific. It also commemorates the murder of Catholic missionary Father Chanel who was savagely clubbed and axed to death by natives in the 19th century. To be fair, I can see why the natives didn't care for colonialism and the cultural loss it entails. However, I'm not sure that a savage murder of a priest should really be a historic event a South Pacific island should take pride in. Even if the priest was a complete asshole. Also the style resembles MS Paint.

Basically this is for a French territory in the South Pacific. It also commemorates the murder of Catholic missionary Father Chanel who was savagely clubbed and axed to death by natives in the 19th century. To be fair, I can see why the natives didn’t care for colonialism and the cultural loss it entails. However, I’m not sure that a savage murder of a priest should really be a historic event a South Pacific island should take pride in. Even if the priest was a complete asshole. Also the style resembles MS Paint.

24. Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain

Hmmm....dragon dancing around a leek. Guess the badass dragon flag of Wales was already taken. Still, dragon flag dancing with a flowering wild onion? Is there anything more lame?

Hmmm….dragon dancing around a leek. Guess the badass dragon flag of Wales was already taken. Still, dragon flag dancing with a flowering wild onion? Is there anything more stupid for a flag emblem?

25. Brown County, Nebraska, United States

As Bad Flags would say:

As Bad Flags would say: ” this flag seems to have been designed by a 3rd grader with severe astygmatism using Microsoft Paint circa 1995.” Yeah, I’m sure it has about the kind of artistic merit you’d see in a local commercial.

26. Drnis, Croatia

This flag is supposed to be of the shepherd Saint Roch with a leg wound. Beside him is a dog with a loaf of bread in its mouth. According to legend it's said that Saint Roch cut his leg from a rock so he could feed the dog. But the dog found bread instead. What the significance of that event is to an obscure town in Croatia I'll never know. Also, the guy seems to be licking the staff.

This flag is supposed to be of the shepherd Saint Roch with a leg wound. Beside him is a dog with a loaf of bread in its mouth. According to legend it’s said that Saint Roch cut his leg from a rock so he could feed the dog. But the dog found bread instead. What the significance of that event is to an obscure town in Croatia I’ll never know. Also, the guy seems to be licking the staff.

27. Oceanside, California, United States

Seems more appropriate for a tourist advertisement than a city flag. Seriously, I could easily see it on their brochures, if not T-shirts.

Seems more appropriate for a tourist advertisement than a city flag. Seriously, I could easily see it on their brochures, if not T-shirts.

28. Vina del Mar, Chile

Yes, this is an actual flag. No, it's not a beach towel design. But I suppose this place probably has its flag on souvenir beach towels as well.

Yes, this is an actual flag. No, it’s not a beach towel design. But I suppose this place probably has its flag on souvenir beach towels as well.

29. Rome, Italy

Seems like Rome tends to be in agreement with the Cleveland Browns as far as color schemes go. Still, if you're doing a two color flag, at least pick better colors. And no, brown shouldn't be one of them.

Seems like Rome tends to be in agreement with the Cleveland Browns as far as color schemes go. Still, if you’re doing a two color flag, at least pick better colors. And no, brown shouldn’t be one of them.

30. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Now this flag is actually quite decent. However, that doesn't explain the presence of the disembodied arm holding the scales. Seriously, that's fucked up. Yeah, kind of an example in which one weird detail can mess up everything.

Now this flag is actually quite decent. However, that doesn’t explain the presence of the disembodied arm holding the scales. Seriously, that’s fucked up. Yeah, kind of an example in which one weird detail can mess up everything.

31. Provo, Utah, United States

Seem this flag makes Provo look like some obscure corporation that sells camera equipment, vitamins, or chemicals. Fortunately, their city council saw the light and unanimously approved a new design this year.

Seem this flag makes Provo look like some obscure corporation that sells camera equipment, vitamins, or chemicals. Fortunately, their city council saw the light and unanimously approved a new design this year.

32. Siauliai, Lithuania

Now I'm fine with the horned bull an the ferocious bear. But I'm not so sure about the eye pyramid. Might draw in a great many conspiracy theorists, especially those who talk about the Illuminati.

Now I’m fine with the horned bull an the ferocious bear. But I’m not so sure about the eye pyramid. Might draw in a great many conspiracy theorists, especially those who talk about the Illuminati.

33. Belgrade, Serbia

Hate to break it to you, Belgrade. But your flag gives us the impression that your waterways are full of blood. It's kind of terrifying to think about that.

Hate to break it to you, Belgrade. But your flag gives us the impression that your waterways are full of blood. It’s kind of terrifying to think about that.

34. Irkutsk, Russia

Look, Irkutsk, I know that animal predation is a normal part of nature. But that doesn't mean that a predator with an animal carcass in its mouth makes a great flag motif. Seriously, why?

Look, Irkutsk, I know that animal predation is a normal part of nature. But that doesn’t mean that a predator with an animal carcass in its mouth makes a great flag motif. Seriously, why?

35. Ibiza, Spain

Reminds me of a map from a 1990s video game. Particularly one developed with the magic of MS paint.

Reminds me of a map from a 1990s video game. Particularly one developed with the magic of MS paint. Also, the stripes are too much here.

36. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Seems like Calgary can't seem to tell the difference between what makes an appropriate flag motif and what makes an appropriate sports logo. And when I see this, I think of some college football team in Texas for some reason.

Seems like Calgary can’t seem to tell the difference between what makes an appropriate flag motif and what makes an appropriate sports logo. And when I see this, I think of some college football team in Texas for some reason, not a Canadian city.

37. Mississippi, United States

That banner in the corner  is said to represent a time in Mississippi when was the state with the  most millionaires (which was around 1860). Of course, anyone familiar with US race relations and history can explain why. It's also used as a symbol for white supremacy through any means necessary, even terrorism or secession from the union just to keep black people in a state of uncompensated involuntary servitude.

That banner in the corner is said to represent a time in Mississippi when was the state with the most millionaires (which was around 1860). Of course, anyone familiar with US race relations and history can explain why. It’s also used as a symbol for white supremacy through any means necessary, even terrorism or secession from the union just to keep black people in a state of uncompensated involuntary servitude.

38. Virginia, United States

Let's see. This flag seems to symbolize Virginia's victory over the Brits in the American Revolution.  Of course, I'm not sure why they'd include a woman with an exposed breast killing a crowned guy in a purple outfit. I mean violence and partial nudity aren't stuff you'd want on a flag.

Let’s see. This flag seems to symbolize Virginia’s victory over the Brits in the American Revolution. Of course, I’m not sure why they’d include a woman with an exposed breast killing a crowned guy in a purple outfit. I mean violence and partial nudity aren’t stuff you’d want on a flag.

39. Asku, Kazakhstan

Seems like a more appropriate flag for someone like Jadis, the White Witch or for someone off Game of Thrones. Yeah, that's the most intimidating snowbird I've ever seen.

Seems like a more appropriate flag for someone like Jadis, the White Witch or for someone off Game of Thrones. Yeah, that’s the most intimidating snowbird I’ve ever seen.

40. Hanover Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States

This flag is for a neighborhood in Chicago.  From Bad Flags:

This flag is for a neighborhood in Chicago. From Bad Flags: “Hanover Park is home to the world’s strongest man, who can lift a pyramid of eight stick figures above his head.” Also, the logo looks as if it was taken straight out of non-profit organization designed to reach out to economically disadvantaged kids.

41. Herimoncourt, Doubs, Franche-Comte, France

So I guess the badass bat logo was already taken by Batman, no less. Still, the place should've used a better font than Times New Roman. Seriously, a creepier font might do a better job attracting tourists.

So I guess the badass bat logo was already taken by Batman, no less. Still, the place should’ve used a better font than Times New Roman. Seriously, a creepier font might do a better job attracting tourists.

42. Hezbollah

If I was a member of this Shitte paramilitary organization in Lebanon, I'd be embarrassed to have a flag like this. Now I can understand the hand holding an AK-47. But I don't think what's left of the arm resembles anything of a minaret or a rocket  to me. To be discreet here, you might want to call a focus group.

If I was a member of this Shitte paramilitary organization in Lebanon, I’d be embarrassed to have a flag like this. Now I can understand the hand holding an AK-47. But I don’t think what’s left of the arm resembles anything of a minaret or a rocket to me. To be discreet here, you might want to call a focus group.

43. Greene County, Ohio, United States

“Dammit, Orville, watch out for that clock tower.” Seriously, this flag looks like it was designed from the computer program my mom uses to make birthday cards. That clock tower is totally clip art for sure.

44. Greene County, Virginia, United States

I swear this flag's insignia was probably designed by the same person who did the Mr. Yuck sticker. Well, at least the border anyway.  Still, it was probably designed on the back of a cocktail napkin anyway.

I swear this flag’s insignia was probably designed by the same person who did the Mr. Yuck sticker. Well, at least the border anyway. Still, it was probably designed on the back of a cocktail napkin anyway.

45. Irribarren, Venezuela

There's a better way to mix royalty, grayscale, caution symbols, and shark attacks. But this isn't it. Not sure what's that thing in the bottom middle. Wonder who could design a mess like this?

There’s a better way to mix royalty, grayscale, caution symbols, and shark attacks. But this isn’t it. Not sure what’s that thing in the bottom middle. Wonder who could design a mess like this?

46. Yap, Micronesia

That's supposed to resemble a canoe with a sail unfurled, carrying a large Rai. However, to me it looks like a circle with a jet pilot helmet they use in the military.

That’s supposed to resemble a canoe with a sail unfurled, carrying a large Rai. However, to me it looks like a circle with a jet pilot helmet they use in the military.

47. Jainism

Now Jainism is an ancient religion in India which has its own monks, teachers, scriptures, and souls. However, while the color scheme and some of the symbols are nice, there's just one little point of contention. Let's just say two decades of putzes wearing armbands in Germany can taint this flag's 1,000 year legacy forever. Sorry that Nazism and WWII have to ruin everything for you, Jains.

Now Jainism is an ancient religion in India which has its own monks, teachers, scriptures, and souls. However, while the color scheme and some of the symbols are nice, there’s just one little point of contention. Let’s just say two decades of putzes wearing armbands in Germany can taint this flag’s 1,000 year legacy forever. Sorry that Nazism and WWII have to ruin everything for you, Jains.

48. Baie-James, Quebec, Canada

Since when does a city in Canada think that having Hedwig electrocuted would make a great design for a flag? Really, that just makes Harry Potter cry. Also, the set up looks like it's straight from a tourist ad or brochure.

Since when does a city in Canada think that having Hedwig electrocuted would make a great design for a flag? Really, that just makes Harry Potter cry. Also, the set up looks like it’s straight from a tourist ad or brochure.

49. Kvalsund, Norway

Seems like the fish up there are very into 3 way make out sessions. Still, who would've thought that Norwegians were tri-sexual pescatarians? Yeah, that's pretty messed up.

Seems like the fish up there are very into 3 way make out sessions. Still, who would’ve thought that Norwegians were tri-sexual pescatarians? Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.

50. Kyrgyzstan

Seems the national symbol for this country is a radiating tennis ball. Oh, it's said to represent a yurt. Doesn't look like one to me.

Seems the national symbol for this country is a giant flaming tennis ball in the sky. Oh, it’s said to represent a yurt. Doesn’t look like one to me. More like an appropriate logo for Serena Williams.

51. Libya (1977-2011)

I'm sure the government of Libya wanted something fancier. But Muammar Ghadafi insisted that the country's flag match his palace drapes. Seriously, Libya has an amazing history and all they could come up with was a green sheet! Oh, wait, I've heard they might've changed it a few years ago.

I’m sure the government of Libya wanted something fancier. But Moamar Gaddafi insisted that the country’s flag match his palace drapes. Seriously, Libya has an amazing history and all they could come up with was a green sheet! Oh, wait, I’ve heard they might’ve changed it a few years ago.

52. Jekabpils, Latvia

Wonder what that lynx is doing under this tree. Probably going about its business. By the way, do they even have lynxes in Latvia? I think they do. But I've always seen them as a primarily North American feline though.

Wonder what that lynx is doing under this tree. Probably going about its business. By the way, do they even have lynxes in Latvia? I think they do. But I’ve always seen them as a primarily North American feline though.

53. Masoy, Finmark, Norway

I understand the hammer and sickle were already taken. But seriously, a halapik? As Bad Flags says: " It’s an ingenious creation meant to bring total destruction to the wicked baby seal at the business end. As both a bludgenoning tool to smash the seal’s sull and and hacking tool, to drag away the freshly killed cottony soft carcass, you kill two birds (or one innocent infant seal) with one blow." Seriously, a baby seal bludgeoning and ripping tool. Real nice. Maybe they should redesign it with something less medieval and less controversial. Let's not glorify baby seal killing shall we?

I understand the hammer and sickle were already taken. But seriously, a halapik? As Bad Flags says: ” It’s an ingenious creation meant to bring total destruction to the wicked baby seal at the business end. As both a bludgenoning tool to smash the seal’s sull and and hacking tool, to drag away the freshly killed cottony soft carcass, you kill two birds (or one innocent infant seal) with one blow.” Seriously, a baby seal bludgeoning and ripping tool. Real nice. Maybe they should redesign it with something less medieval weaponish and less controversial. Let’s not glorify baby seal killing shall we?

54. Matruh, Egypt

It's supposed to be a goat, which might be cool to some. But I'm not sure it's a flag worthy creature. Also, seems to be running way from a yellow brick wall.

It’s supposed to be a goat, which might be cool to some. But I’m not sure it’s a flag worthy creature. Also, seems to be running way from a yellow brick wall.

55. Mauensee, Lucerne, Switzerland

Now I've heard of flying fish. But I'm kind of sure they don't have feathers. Is it supposed to be an angel fish? If not, then why the hell does this fish have feathered wings?

Now I’ve heard of flying fish. But I’m kind of sure they don’t have feathers. Is it supposed to be an angel fish? If not, then why the hell does this fish have feathered wings?

56. Mont-Laureir, Quebec, Canada

Hate to say this but this looks more like a logo for a 1980s computer company nobody has heard about since. Seriously, I think I saw such similar imagery on hospital buildings or corporate headquarters.

Hate to say this but this looks more like a logo for a 1980s computer company nobody has heard about since. Seriously, I think I saw such similar imagery on hospital buildings or corporate headquarters.

57. Penza Oblast, Russia

Seems like this obscure area in Russia seems to be a fan of resting bitchface Jesus about to overturn changing tables in the Temple of Jerusalem. Not a great example of Russian Orthodox iconography.

Seems like this obscure area in Russia seems to be a fan of resting bitchface Jesus about to overturn changing tables in the Temple of Jerusalem. Not a great example of Russian Orthodox iconography.

58. Inglewood, California, United States

Now this centennial flag doesn't really resemble something you'd fly at city hall. Rather, it resembles some agricultural company logo celebrating its anniversary. Seriously, photoshop? Why?

Now this centennial flag doesn’t really resemble something you’d fly at city hall. Rather, it resembles some agricultural company logo celebrating its anniversary. Seriously, photoshop? Why?

59. Poperinge, Belgium

I guess this place is really into artichokes. Or are those hops or Brussels sprouts? Perhaps they're turtles or cockroaches. Wouldn't see why any place would want to put such designs on its flag.

I guess this place is really into artichokes. Or are those hops or Brussels sprouts? Perhaps they’re turtles or cockroaches. Wouldn’t see why any place would want to put such designs on its flag.

60. Sicily, Italy

Now what's freakier than a flag with 3 disembodied legs? Well, a flag with 3 disembodied leg triskelion and a face on it. Add 3 stalks of wheat and a pair of wings coming out as well. Now that's what I called freaky. Yeah, wonder what the Sicily's flag designer was on when he came up with that idea.

Now what’s freakier than a flag with 3 disembodied legs? Well, a flag with 3 disembodied leg triskelion and a face on it. Add 3 stalks of wheat and a pair of wings coming out as well. Now that’s what I called freaky. Yeah, wonder what the Sicily’s flag designer was on when he came up with that idea.

61. Southland, New Zealand

This doesn't look like a flag motif at all. The setup seems to resemble the kind of motivational posters you'd see in a school library. More like, "Enjoy the adventure of reading" type of message there.

This doesn’t look like a flag motif at all. The setup seems to resemble the kind of motivational posters you’d see in a school library. More like, “Enjoy the adventure of reading” type of message there.

62. Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Now this is supposed to be an anthropomorphic Garuda bird, a mythological creature in Buddhism. However, to me, this is one really ugly flying monkey. He also seems a bit tubby, no offense.

Now this is supposed to be an anthropomorphic Garuda bird, a mythological creature in Buddhism. However, to me, this is one really ugly flying monkey. He also seems a bit tubby, no offense.

63. St. Moritz, Switerland

Now this is supposed to be Saint Mauritius, a Roman soldier from the 3rd century who refused to kill Christians at the behest of Emperor Maximilian. Thus, he and his legion were martyred. Still, as Bad Flags put it: "It looks like a tribute to the first  Swedish knight with a pageboy haircut to walk on the moon." Yeah, pretty cartoonish if you ask me.

Now this is supposed to be Saint Mauritius, a Roman soldier from the 3rd century who refused to kill Christians at the behest of Emperor Maximilian. Thus, he and his legion were martyred. Still, as Bad Flags put it: “It looks like a tribute to the first Swedish knight with a pageboy haircut to walk on the moon.” Yeah, pretty cartoonish if you ask me.

64. Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, Hungary

Well, aside from the airmail envelope border, there seems to be a lot of crap on this flag. Guess one place wanted a flag that symbolized the most stuff. Still, it's quite a bit overboard to say the least.

Well, aside from the airmail envelope border, there seems to be a lot of crap on this flag. Guess one place wanted a flag that symbolized the most stuff. Still, it’s quite a bit overboard to say the least.

65. Long Beach, Mississippi, United States

To be fair, this Gulf Coast city has been through a lot of crap like Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwaer Horizon oil spill. However, it's known for growing radishes. Yet, what they have here resembles purple carrots. Oh, wait they actually grew radishes like that? Now I feel bad. Still, from that insignia, they seem to be desperate for tourists.

To be fair, this Gulf Coast city has been through a lot of crap like Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwaer Horizon oil spill. However, it’s known for growing radishes. Yet, what they have here resembles purple carrots. Oh, wait they actually grew radishes like that? Now I feel bad. Still, from that insignia, they seem to be desperate for tourists.

66. Wallonia, Belgium

Now Walloons have a deep reverence for the French Chanticleer rooster, which is from a children's fable. It's said to appear in a movie called Rock-a-Doodle. Yeah, not something you'd want on a flag. You can see why many emblems tend to have eagles on them. Eagles are cool. Chickens not so much.

Now Walloons have a deep reverence for the French Chanticleer rooster, which is from a children’s fable. It’s said to appear in a movie called Rock-a-Doodle. Yeah, not something you’d want on a flag. You can see why many emblems tend to have eagles on them. Eagles are cool. Chickens not so much.

67. Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia

Jesus Christ, a bear with an halberd. Only a matter of time until he learns to use an AK-47 which is a Russian built. Also, it's newly bipedal with oppose able thumbs.  Yeah, Russian outdoors people might want to stay away from bears bearing medieval weaponry.

Jesus Christ, a bear with an halberd. Only a matter of time until he learns to use an AK-47 which is a Russian built. Also, it’s newly bipedal with oppose able thumbs. Yeah, Russian outdoors people might want to stay away from bears bearing medieval weaponry.

68. Georgia

This was the state flag of Georgia from the 1950s to 2001. Its reason to have a Confederate flag on its emblem stems from the racist white legislators trying to send a message against desegregation. Luckily, it was replaced with a less racist design in 2001.

This was the state flag of Georgia from the 1950s to 2001. Its reason to have a Confederate flag on its emblem stems from the racist white legislators trying to send a message against desegregation. Luckily, it was replaced with a less racist design in 2001.

69. Orange County, California, United States

Seems like a more appropriate logo for a company that grows oranges. And I sure as hell wouldn't think California as an appropriate place to grow them this time of year. Especially since the state's in  drought. Nevertheless, Orange County is a rich person's area that sometimes tends to hoard water for themselves and their golf courses. What a waste.

Seems like a more appropriate logo for a company that grows oranges. And I sure as hell wouldn’t think California as an appropriate place to grow them this time of year. Especially since the state’s in drought. Nevertheless, Orange County is a rich person’s area that sometimes tends to hoard water for themselves and their golf courses. What a waste.

70. Chiapas, Mexico

From Bad Flags: "The center seal tells the story of two lion lovers. The first lion, Eduardo, lives in the palace. The other lion, Timoteo, is stuck on the other side of a rushing river from his love. A deep chasm keeps apart their love. One day, as Eduardo uses his castle as a scratching post, Timoteo gets an idea. If he scratched that palm tree enough, he may be able to break it down and bridge the gap and run to his lover’s open paws. Unfortunately, the tree is just a little short, and Timoteo plunges to his untimely death." Now that's a horrible story. Still, please let it be a joke. Seriously, why would a place in Mexico want a flag depicting such events is beyond me.

From Bad Flags: “The center seal tells the story of two lion lovers. The first lion, Eduardo, lives in the palace. The other lion, Timoteo, is stuck on the other side of a rushing river from his love. A deep chasm keeps apart their love. One day, as Eduardo uses his castle as a scratching post, Timoteo gets an idea. If he scratched that palm tree enough, he may be able to break it down and bridge the gap and run to his lover’s open paws. Unfortunately, the tree is just a little short, and Timoteo plunges to his untimely death.” Now that’s a horrible story. Still, please let it be a joke. Seriously, why would a place in Mexico want a flag depicting such events is beyond me.

71. Perm, Russia

Pretty sure I won't trust a bear on a book. This is especially the case when the book is most likely the Bible in question. Of course, it's pretty obvious that's the book in question on this flag.

Pretty sure I won’t trust a bear on a book. This is especially the case when the book is most likely the Bible in question. Of course, it’s pretty obvious that’s the book in question on this flag.

72. Greenburgh, New York, United States

Motto is either "Who wants chili?" or "Eye of newt and tongue of shrew, feast your eyes on this witches' brew." Uh, let's hope it's just chili.

Motto is either “Who wants chili?” or “Eye of newt and tongue of shrew, feast your eyes on this witches’ brew.” Uh, let’s hope it’s just chili.

73. Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front

This is a revolutionary movement at the Horn of Africa seeking to unite Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djbouti under the gun and torch. Yeah, doesn't seem democratic to me either. Seriously, with an AK-47 what do you expect me to think?

This is a revolutionary movement at the Horn of Africa seeking to unite Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djbouti under the gun and torch. Yeah, doesn’t seem democratic to me either. Seriously, with an AK-47 what do you expect me to think of these guys? Possible terrorists?

74. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Now the place name translates to "Land of Fire." However, it's actually a pretty cold place and one of the southernmost inhabited areas in the world. Still, doesn't make me understand why part of the flag is tangerine and includes a seagull. Yeah, a bird that can be found practically anywhere even in a parking lot in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Also, looks like it was designed by a 7 year old.

Now the place name translates to “Land of Fire.” However, it’s actually a pretty cold place and one of the southernmost inhabited areas in the world. Still, doesn’t make me understand why part of the flag is tangerine and includes a seagull. Yeah, a bird that can be found practically anywhere even in a parking lot in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Also, looks like it was designed by a 7 year old.

75. North Caucasian Emirate, Russia (1918-1921)

Now this consists of 3 stars making an eye and a nose along with a smiley face mouth. Might have something to do with the whimsical religion of Islam. Of course, the region it represents didn't last.

Now this consists of 3 stars making an eye and a nose along with a smiley face mouth. Might have something to do with the whimsical religion of Islam. Of course, the region it represents didn’t last.

76. Tamil Eelam

This is a flag a of a proposed Tamil state located in what's currently north and east Sri Lanka. Of course, while the image is badass, it also seems more like an emblem for some armed insurgent organization. Yeah, I think the crossed guns have to go.

This is a flag a of a proposed Tamil state located in what’s currently north and east Sri Lanka. Of course, while the image is badass, it also seems more like an emblem for some armed insurgent organization. Yeah, I think the crossed guns have to go.

77. New Jersey, United States

Now New Jersey's flag looks quite decent with the exception of the color. And the horses' head. Doesn't help that it's been the setting of two award winning HBO crime shows like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

Now New Jersey’s flag looks quite decent with the exception of the color. And the horses’ head. Doesn’t help that it’s been the setting of two award winning HBO crime shows like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

78. Pocatello, Idaho, United States

Okay, this is a flag of a city in Idaho. However, it looks more like an emblem designed for a local auto dealership with shitty commercials. I heard they changed it in 2008. Let's hope it's not something that's looks straight out of some printing program.

Okay, this is a flag of a city in Idaho. However, it looks more like an emblem designed for a local auto dealership with shitty commercials. I heard they changed it in 2008. Let’s hope it’s not something that’s looks straight out of some printing program.

79. Tampa Bay, Florida, United States

Now that's a very tacky flag. I mean not only does it have a seal in the middle but that colors are so distracting. Of course, it kind of embodies the spirit of the city. If not, then Florida.

Now that’s a very tacky flag. I mean not only does it have a seal in the middle but that colors are so distracting. Of course, it kind of embodies the spirit of the city. If not, then Florida.

80. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

This was actually voted among the 5 worst flags of the North American Vexillogical Association. Still, it's been the city's flag since the 1950s and seems to have way too much on it. Perhaps a flag depicting cheap beer would've been more appropriate. Still, you have wonder what kind of art schools the city has to produce a flag like this.

This was actually voted among the 5 worst flags of the North American Vexillogical Association. Still, it’s been the city’s flag since the 1950s and seems to have way too much on it. Perhaps a flag depicting cheap beer would’ve been more appropriate. Still, you have wonder what kind of art schools the city has to produce a horrible flag like this.

Worst Excuses for Keeping a Confederate Flag

Confederate_Rebel_Flag.svg

Disclaimer: While I am not apologetic in my stance on the Confederate Flag issue and wish for its removal, I understand this post may feature some material bound to offend a significant part of the US population, particularly in the South. And while the Confederate Flag has been taken down at the South Carolina state house, plenty of such flags remain in the area such as in Mississippi. Seriously, the Confederate Flag only belongs in museums, historical sites, Civil War media, and cemeteries. No where else. Nevertheless, I’ve done my research on this. So don’t say that I don’t know my history if the flag offends me. Because I know my history and can completely understand why that flag offends people. Also, anyone offended by the picture should know that I’m not praising the Confederate Flag in any way. In fact, this is an article on me debunking excuses people make on keeping it.

Now in my “Thoughts on Charleston” post, I discussed how the Charleston Church shooting was racially motivated and why it was a problem. I also discussed a bit on why the Confederate Flag needs to be removed. However, while the South Carolina state house agreed to remove the flag from its state legislature, there was a substantial number of white people who weren’t happy about it. In fact, they were quite angry. And this led to a spat between the Klu Klux Klan and the Black Panthers nearby over last weekend. Others may think that we should worry about bigger things other than removing a flag, especially when it comes to stopping terror. However, many of these people either have no idea what this flag really stands for or conveniently ignore that fact. Many tend to keep Confederate Flags just to express their southern pride or love for Southern Rock groups. Some may keep a Confederate Flag thinking it’s a cool symbol of rebelling against authority. And many are quick to defend that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of heritage, not hate. Not to mention, in states like Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina have laws banning the public mutilation, defilement, and cast of contempt on this flag. But such laws were overruled by the US Supreme Court in 1989 and aren’t enforceable anyway. But I’m sure they’re still on the books. However, hate to let ya’ll down, but the Confederate Flag is nothing more than a symbol of white supremacy and history shows this. Always has been, always will be. It’s not hard to figure out the American Civil War was over slavery and a lot of powerful white Southerners were really big fans of it. Nevertheless, I present to you many of worst excuses that people make about keeping the Confederate Flag.

  1. “The Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage and pride.”
While the Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, it's one that embodies some of the worst aspects in the history of the American South. Basically it represents a region that split with the country in the name of preserving and expanding an institution where blacks were coerced into a lifetime of involuntary servitude with no rights or compensation. Here is an engraving of a slave auction in Virginia where this mother and daughter are unlikely to see each other again.

While the Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, it’s one that embodies some of the worst aspects in the history of the American South. Basically it represents a region that split with the country in the name of preserving and expanding an institution where blacks were coerced into a lifetime of involuntary servitude with no rights or compensation. Here is an engraving of a slave auction in Virginia where this mother and daughter are unlikely to see each other again.

Well, if you feel that a Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern pride, then I think you might want to find yourself a better way to express that. But while I agree that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, but in a way that reflects the worst of what it represents. By this, I mean a time in which the South was run by a wealthy elite who owned large plantations manned by a large underclass of blacks who either were or among descendants of kidnap victims and subjugated under a lifetime of involuntary servitude, which they depended on. And they tend to use a rationale that blacks were lazy and inferior simpletons in order to justify it. Now many of the Northern states on the other hand, had outlawed this notorious institution and was a realm of many anti-slavery activities that these Southern aristocrats didn’t like. This was especially the case since the cotton gin led to an economic boom in the region which made these rich guys even more dependent to keep blacks in a lifetime state of involuntary servitude. Of course, it also explains why Mississippi was home to the most millionaires in 1860. So tensions build up over the years which result in a bunch of political dysfunction and sporadic moments of violence. It soon got to the point that these wealthy elites became so distressed about the North being no fan of enslaving black people, that they decided to split from the country to form their own so they never have to worry about such encroachment again. Of course, the North didn’t like them leaving the country and so commences a bloody 4-year war, which the North won by the way. And the white Southerners were very bitter that this war helped outlaw such practices so they went to great lengths to make sure that blacks could never gain any social, political, or economic power. Of course, they managed to get away with such practices for decades until blacks started demonstrating during the 1950s and 1960s. But it doesn’t stop the white Southerners from romanticizing the days when wealthy plantation owners forced black people to work for them so they didn’t have to abide to certain whitey hiring regulations other than perhaps the occasional overseer. They don’t want to think about the highly unethical implications and human rights violations pertaining to forced black labor as well as other anti-black policies so they conveniently choose to forget that. But still, you get the idea what the Confederate Flag sort of represents.

  1. “The Confederate Flag is a symbol of freedom and states’ rights.”
While Confederate Flag supporters often say that the American Civil War was about states' rights, moments like the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott Decision show this wasn't the case. Sure the South wanted to preserve slavery and their way of life. But they also wanted to expand it into the territories and force the North to return runaway slaves. Since Northern states had banned slavery for quite some time, it didn't want to comply. Now this is a poster warning free blacks in Boston to be wary of slave catchers and kidnappers who might want to enslave them.

While Confederate Flag supporters often say that the American Civil War was about states’ rights, moments like the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott Decision show this wasn’t the case. Sure the South wanted to preserve slavery and their way of life. But they also wanted to expand it into the territories and force the North to return runaway slaves. Since Northern states had banned slavery for quite some time, it didn’t want to comply. Now this is a poster warning free blacks in Boston to be wary of slave catchers and kidnappers who might want to enslave them.

Yes, but this flag represents the Confederacy which split from the Union in 1860-1861, but the “freedom” and “states’ rights” in this pertained to the idea that a white person was free to own slaves who were usually black. Besides, those who think the American Civil War was fought over states’ rights should really look up the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required that all escaped slaves were to be returned to their masters upon capture and that citizens and officials had to cooperate, even in free states. Then there’s the Dred Scott Decision that centered on a black man who tried to sue for his and his family’s freedom on account that his master had died in a free territory. But the Supreme Court denied that request in which Chief Justice Roger Taney said that blacks were, “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” You should also take into account that thanks to the 3/5ths Compromise in the Constitution, the Southern states had a lot of political influence and representation in Congress, but industrialization, urbanization, and immigration would give the North much more political power. Now both the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott Decision took place before 1860 and were heavily favorable to slave owners in the South. But they also both reveal that the South didn’t just want to keep slavery within their borders (and they were in no position to abandon it either). They wanted to expand it to the territories and force the North to support that institution against their will. Abraham Lincoln and his fellow Republicans opposed both these measures in 1860 which led to the South seceding from the Union after Lincoln’s election to president in 1860. So much for states’ rights.

Dred Scott was a slave who tried to sue the government for his and his family's freedom on account that he spent time in a free territory. However, the Supreme Court ruled against him on account that blacks weren't considered US citizens and had no right to sue. Also, the Missouri Compromise of 1850 was declared unconstitutional which carried a designation of free territories in the first place. It has been known as the worst US Supreme court ruling in history. And it's no surprise that a few of the justices at the time were slave owners.

Dred Scott was a slave who tried to sue the government for his and his family’s freedom on account that he spent time in a free territory. However, the Supreme Court ruled against him on account that blacks weren’t considered US citizens and had no right to sue. Also, the Missouri Compromise of 1850 was declared unconstitutional which carried a designation of free territories in the first place. It has been known as the worst US Supreme court ruling in history. And it’s no surprise that a few of the justices at the time were slave owners.

We should also take into account that documents pertaining to the South’s split from the union because they refused to be in a country that was turning them into second-class citizens and refused to honor one of their most cherished beliefs, that slavery was beneficial to the negro. And it’s very clear that the Confederates weren’t in any way shy about this since the right to own slaves was written into their constitution. Besides, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said it himself in his “Cornerstone” speech, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…” And in Texas’s secession declaration, slavery is mentioned at a whopping 21 times as well as said that governments and states of the nation were established, “exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity,” and this didn’t apply to black people. So to say that the Confederate Flag was a symbol any other freedom than for whites to treat African Americans as property as well as force them to work for them against their will and with no compensation, then that argument is relatively weak. Besides, most historians think that the South played the states’ rights card only when they disagreed with federal policy and only when the rights in question applied to their states.

  1. “My ancestors fought under that flag.”
Southern Unionism was widespread throughout the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Southern Unionists comprised of 25% of Union Forces including my 3rd great-grandfather from East Tennessee and at least 3 of his brothers. This is an engraving of Southern Unionist refugees from Georgia in East Tennessee, a hotbed for Union sympathizers.

Southern Unionism was widespread throughout the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Southern Unionists comprised of 25% of Union Forces including my 3rd great-grandfather from East Tennessee and at least 3 of his brothers. This is an engraving of Southern Unionist refugees from Georgia in East Tennessee, a hotbed for Union sympathizers. However, in the “Lost Cause” myth, these people tend to be totally erased.

Are you sure about that? The National Park Service has a database listing American Civil War soldiers and sailors so you can look up your ancestors there. But even if your Civil War ancestors were white and resided in the Confederacy, there’s a substantial chance that they might not have fought for the side you previously thought. Unionism was widespread in the Confederacy during the Civil War (explaining the existence of West Virginia) and 25% of Union soldiers also resided in a secessionist state. So perhaps flying a Confederate Flag at your front porch may not actually be your way to honor the memory of your ancestors than possibly giving them the finger on the cause and country they fought for. This is especially the case if you find out that your 3rd great-grandfather from Arkansas actually fought for the Army of the Tennessee instead of the Army of Tennessee according to family legend.

Southern Unionists were often targets of violence by Confederates during the American Civil War. This is an engraving of a mass hanging of Southern Unionists in Gainesville, Texas.

Southern Unionists were often targets of violence by Confederates during the American Civil War (mostly for resisting draft laws but many were arrested as well). This is an engraving of a mass hanging of Southern Unionists in Gainesville, Texas. Like black troops, Southern Unionists who also fought for the Union also risked execution upon capture. Sometimes this would lead their families consigned to the not-so-tender mercies of their often unforgiving neighbors. After the Civil War, many Southern Unionists continued to be persecuted for their wartime beliefs after Reconstruction as well as targets of the Klu Klux Klan.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of descendants of Confederate veterans who don’t want anything to do with the Confederate Flag. Of course, many of these sons of Confederate veterans tend to be black and would want no part in honoring what their ancestors fought for. Not surprisingly, these guys were white and most likely owned slaves as well.

These are the official and military flags used by the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Though never used in any official capacity, the Confederate Battle Flag was used as an unofficial emblem of the Confederacy. This was because it was a very recognizable design from long distances.

These are the official and military flags used by the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Though never used in any official capacity, the Confederate Battle Flag was used as an unofficial emblem of the Confederacy. This was because it was a very recognizable design from long distances.

Even so, the Confederate Flag we know today was actually used as the Battle Flag for the Army of Northern Virginia but the design wouldn’t be incorporated in the official Confederate Flag design until 1863 with the “Stainless Banner” flag as well as in the “Blood-Stained Banner” in 1865. But both these flags have the Confederate Battle insignia in the upper left corner. But before these two flags, there was the “Stars and Bars” flag which had 3 stripes in red and white as well as a blue square with 13 stars. But this would later be disowned since it was too similar to the Union Flag and caused confusion during the 1st Battle of Bull Run (especially at long distances). So let’s just say if your Confederate ancestors fought under that flag, it was more or less on an unofficial basis. So it’s no surprise why the Confederate Battle Flag has become a widely recognized symbol of the American South since it was the Confederacy’s most recognized flag during most of the war. And the later flag designs both show this. But as far as we know the Confederate Flag was never adopted by the Confederate Congress, was never officially used for Confederate veterans groups, and never flew over state capitols during the Confederacy. So for the descendants of Confederate veterans, I’ll rule this as partially true.

  1. “Even if it is racist, the meaning of words and symbols is relative to the individual.”
The swastika is a good example of how symbols can be interpreted in many different ways. In Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, it's a sacred and auspicious symbol as well as a good luck charm. But try to explain that to Westerns who link it with Nazism, Anti-Semitism, totalitarianism, racism,  hate, and mass slaughter.

The swastika is a good example of how symbols can be interpreted in many different ways. In Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, it’s a sacred and auspicious symbol as well as a good luck charm. But try to explain that to Westerns who link it with Nazism, Anti-Semitism, totalitarianism, racism, hate, and mass slaughter. Of course, the Nazi swastika is turned, but still. Nevertheless, unlike Americans with the Confederate Flag, Asians can still play the culture card for the swastika because they’ve used it way long before it became associated with Nazism.

Yes, words and symbols can mean a variety of different things depending on the individual. But even though you may fly a Confederate Flag showing your love for Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn’t mean that your neighbors would interpret it that way. But most of the time words and symbols carry meanings that stand independently of any individual’s subjective interpretation. Such that it might lead your passionate but non-racist Rebel Flag waving Lynyrd Skynyrd fan to be mistaken for racist  or believing that any pursuit of white supremacy isn’t wrong and may be worthy of celebration. This is especially true when a symbol or term has very negative connotations for a certain group of people explaining why many people want the Washington Redskins to change their name. It also explains why nobody in the West no longer uses swastikas for decoration.

  1. “Taking down the Confederate Flag will rewrite history.”
Whenever Confederate Flag supporters complain how removing this banner would rewrite history, what they really mean is that it will change the American Civil War history as they remember it. Of course, it's no surprise that many of these Confederate Flag supporters believe in the myth of the "Lost Cause" which is a virulently racist and very distorting pseudo-history viewpoint. Of course, Birth of a Nation basically shows the worst of the "Lost Cause" myth and the ideology it supports.

Whenever Confederate Flag supporters complain how removing this banner would rewrite history, what they really mean is that it will change the American Civil War history as they remember it. Of course, it’s no surprise that many of these Confederate Flag supporters believe in the myth of the “Lost Cause” which is a virulently racist and very distorting pseudo-history viewpoint. Of course, Birth of a Nation basically shows the worst of the “Lost Cause” myth and the ideology it supports.

Actually, when we’re talking about taking down the Confederate Flag, it will still be used in a historic capacity such as being displayed in museums and historic sites, Civil War media, and Civil War reenactments. Not sure if displaying them on Confederate Civil War memorials and monuments is acceptable, but I’ll leave it. Let’s just say Confederate Flag removal will only apply to places like government buildings, state and national parks (save Civil War battlefields), public schools and colleges, and other public places. Still, taking down the Confederate Flag may not rewrite history but it will help put the Neo-Confederate “Lost Cause” myth to rest since it was only made up to justify the oppression of African Americans in the South with Jim Crow laws and extralegal violence. I think removing the Confederate Flag might help Americans come to terms with an ugly part of their history, which many tend to ignore. So removing it might rewrite history to an extent, but only in a way that brings down the “Lost Cause” myth which continues to be influential in media and in schools despite that it’s a major distortion of history used to serve a very racist political agenda. And sometimes historic distortions need to be corrected by removing symbols of hate from where they don’t belong.

  1. “Even if it is racist, meanings of words and symbols can change over time.”
It's illegal in Germany to wave a Nazi flag. But it's a perfect illustration of how once symbols acquire a negative interpretation to them, it usually stays that way. And the fact people still make excuses of keeping the Confederate Flag just makes it more disturbing. Nevertheless, an American keeping a Confederate Flag is certainly equivalent to a German keeping a Nazi one.

It’s illegal in Germany to wave a Nazi flag. But it’s a perfect illustration of how once symbols acquire a negative interpretation to them, it usually stays that way. And the fact people still make excuses of keeping the Confederate Flag just makes it more disturbing. Nevertheless, an American keeping a Confederate Flag is certainly equivalent to a German keeping a Nazi one.

They may but if a symbol acquires a highly negative meaning, it tends to stay that way. And at its most benign, it’s been used by the historically-ignorant without being fully cognizant of its implications. But whether it represented a defunct government whose reason for existence was to preserve slavery or as a symbolic embodiment of the so-called “Lost Cause” myth, you can’t take pride in such a flag without tacitly endorsing a racist view or being remarkably clueless. Even if your ancestors fought for the Confederacy. And since the American Civil War, Southern whites tended to use the Neo-Confederate “Lost Cause” myth as their history just to enact Jim Crow laws as well as keep black people from any form of social, political, or economic power. The Confederate Flag is an artifact from that history as the “Lost Cause” myth continues to be propagated by Sons of the Confederate Veterans as well as United Daughters of the Confederacy. However, these two organizations as well as other historical societies tend to be among the more mild offenders.

FILE - "In this April 14, 1964 black-and-white file photo, a man holds a Confederate flag at right, as demonstrators, including one carrying a sign saying: "More than 300,000 Negroes are Denied Vote in Ala", demonstrate in front of an Indianapolis hotel where then-Alabama Governor George Wallace was staying." The Confederate Flag enjoyed a resurgence of popularity after World War II, particularly to white supremacists who saw the rising Civil Rights Movement as a threat. Let's just say white segregationists' use of the Confederate Flag was no accident.

FILE – “In this April 14, 1964 black-and-white file photo, a man holds a Confederate flag at right, as demonstrators, including one carrying a sign saying: “More than 300,000 Negroes are Denied Vote in Ala”, demonstrate in front of an Indianapolis hotel where then-Alabama Governor George Wallace was staying.” The Confederate Flag enjoyed a resurgence of popularity after World War II, particularly to white supremacists who saw the rising Civil Rights Movement as a threat. Let’s just say white segregationists’ use of the Confederate Flag was no accident.

Yet, after World War II, the Confederate Flag enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the South used by segregationist whites to protest integration especially with the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education which declared school segregation unconstitutional. Southern states tended to use the Confederate Flag in their public pageantry during the Civil Rights Movement with the South Carolina raising flag at their state capitol in 1961. Two notable groups who used this as a symbol were the Dixiecrats and the Klu Klux Klan, both noted for white supremacy and opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. As Southern historian Gordon Rhea said: “It is no accident that Confederate symbols have been the mainstay of white supremacist organizations, from the Ku Klux Klan to the skinheads. They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty. They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals: ‘that the negro is not equal to the white man’. The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate. But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?”

  1. “Just because I keep a Confederate Flag doesn’t mean I’m racist.”
I'm not saying that Confederate Flag supporters are racists. It's just that I find it a hard time to consider them not to be when I see them waving a flag that's clearly a symbol for white supremacy by any means necessary. Seriously, this flag has been used to justify racist policies in the South, opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, and extralegal violence against African Americans. So I don't think Confederate Flag supporters are helping their case.

I’m not saying that Confederate Flag supporters are racists. It’s just that I find it a hard time to consider them not to be when I see them waving a flag that’s clearly a symbol for white supremacy by any means necessary. Seriously, this flag has been used to justify racist policies in the South, opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, and extralegal violence against African Americans. So I don’t think Confederate Flag supporters are helping their case.

Maybe, but as I said time words and symbols carry meanings that stand independently of any individual’s subjective interpretation. Just ask any Asian Hindu and Buddhist who’s denied Anti-Semitism while wearing a swastika T-shirt. You may not see yourself as a racist, but try convincing your cringing black neighbors that whenever they see the Confederate Flag flying outside your porch. Sure you might fly it in the name of southern pride or that you’re a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. But most of the African American community and others identify it as a symbol of white supremacy, as well as political repression and violence against blacks. Many people also identify it as a symbol of treason in which a power elite of rich white guys seceded from the union in order to preserve a way of life that benefited no one but themselves as well as subjugated 40% the region’s population to a lifetime of involuntary servitude and a legal designation of property.

  1. “The Confederate Flag has nothing to do with racism.”
Uh, yes, the Confederate Flag has everything to do with racism. In fact, it's been always used as a symbol of racism from the moment of its inception. In fact, the guy who designed it said it himself and he certainly wasn't in the closet about his white supremacy.

Uh, yes, the Confederate Flag has everything to do with racism. In fact, it’s been always used as a symbol of racism from the moment of its inception. In fact, the guy who designed it said it himself and he certainly wasn’t in the closet about his white supremacy.

Really? But even in the antebellum American South, most Southern whites didn’t own slaves either. But most of them supported slavery anyway and a lot of them fought for the Confederacy. In the Antebellum South, white supremacy was accepted by almost all white Southerners of all classes which made slavery seem natural, legitimate, and essential for a civilized society. The whole Old South had a system of preserving slavery with elaborate codes of speech, behavior, or practices illustrating the subordination of blacks to whites. Southern whites serving on “slave patrols” and “overseers” were offered positions of power and honor. Such positions gave poor white Southerners the authority to stop, search, whip, maim, and even kill any slave traveling outside their plantation. “Slave patrols” were institutions bringing Southern whites of all classes in support of the prevailing economic and racial order. Oh, and policing and punishing slaves who transgressed the regimentation of slave society at the time was seen as community service. Not to mention, there was a constant fear of free blacks threatening law and order in the Old South as well. Also, there was no secret ballot so a poorer white guy voting against the wishes of the establishment ran the chance of facing social ostracism. Many Southern whites were linked to extensive kinship networks and/or depended on white Southern planters economically. Then there’s the fact many non-slaveholders perceived the possibility of owning slaves one day with the opening of the territories and how slavery gave poor whites some sense that they weren’t at the bottom of the Southern plantation society. So how could the Confederate Flag have nothing to do with racism, then how could it represent a society built around the idea of white supremacy?

  1. “The Confederate Flag doesn’t represent hate and violence.”
For over a century, the Confederate Flag has has stood for the idea that African Americans are less-than-equal members of the political community and that using any illegal violence against their interest is justified and that it’s noble to fight and die for the purpose of enslaving black people even if it means betraying the country. White supremacist organizations like the Klu Klux Klan have been known to use these flags as their symbols. Since it has inspired acts of violence such as lynchings and terrorism toward African Americans, its use is no accident. Still, if the Confederate Flag isn't a symbol of hate and violence, then I don't know what is.

For over a century, the Confederate Flag has has stood for the idea that African Americans are less-than-equal members of the political community and that using any illegal violence against their interest is justified and that it’s noble to fight and die for the purpose of enslaving black people even if it means betraying the country. White supremacist organizations like the Klu Klux Klan have been known to use these flags as their symbols. Since it has inspired acts of violence such as lynchings and terrorism toward African Americans, its use is no accident. Still, if the Confederate Flag isn’t a symbol of hate and violence, then I don’t know what is.

Seriously? Uh, for over a century it has inspired Southern whites to systematically discriminate and commit violence against African Americans. In fact, Southern whites split from the country and started a war because they so strongly viewed that blacks were inferior to human beings and should be put in their place through any means necessary (even though a significant number of white Southerners wanted no such thing like my Tennessee ancestors). For over a century, the Confederate Flag has stood for the idea that African Americans are less-than-equal members of the political community and that using any illegal violence against their interest is justified and that it’s noble to fight and die for the purpose of enslaving black people even if it means betraying the country. Such violence has involved hate crimes like lynchings and acts of terror by groups like the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacist groups. And for a long time Southern whites got away with it because the legal system always ruled in favor of white interests that African Americans would be put in jail for even the most trivial offenses. Nevertheless, if the Confederate Flag doesn’t represent hate and violence, then I don’t know what does.

  1. “The Confederate Flag is a symbol of the proud, distinctive heritage and gentility of the Old South.”
Contrary to the images of  elegant plantations, happy slaves, proper Southern gentlemen, and beautiful Southern belles, life in the Old South wasn't the kind of society people imagine it. The Old South consisted of a society built on white supremacy, slavery, and rule of a rich wealthy elite wanting to preserve a way of life that benefitted no one but themselves.

Contrary to the images of elegant plantations, happy slaves, proper Southern gentlemen, and beautiful Southern belles, life in the Old South wasn’t the kind of society people imagine it. The Old South consisted of a society built on white supremacy, slavery, and rule of a rich wealthy elite wanting to preserve a way of life that benefited no one but themselves. Anyone who wasn’t rich or white meant politically nothing.

Really? What the Confederate Flag symbolizes of the Old South is a heritage that’s distinctive all right. But it’s not genteel in any way and not something for Southerners to be proud of. The heritage the Confederate Flag symbolizes is an ugly one in which society is controlled by a wealthy slave owning elite with whites of all classes united under a doctrine of white supremacy and economic dependency. It represents the idea of blacks being inferior and should be kept in their place by any means necessary. It represents poorer whites who accepted the status quo that was against their own interests under the threat of social ostracism. Not to mention, education was only available to those who could afford it and many poor whites made less than their Northern counterparts. But they embraced racism since their skin color gave them more rights and opportunities than even the most well-off free blacks who had no civil rights (and it didn’t help that most free blacks were very poor and marginalized). Not to mention, the unrealistic prospect that they can be part of the white Southern elite if they can work hard enough. But nevertheless, the Old South was a society that worked mainly in the interests of the white rich guys who ran it. And by the eve of the Civil War, that wealth would be more concentrated. Thus, the kind of society of the Old South was based on the notion of slaves and land being status symbols, concentration of wealth and power at the hands of a few rich white guys, the idea that blacks were property and inferior to whites, and that unless you were a rich white guy who owned a plantation, you meant politically nothing.

  1. “The cry to take the Confederate Flag down is unjustified.”
During the Jim Crow Era, it wasn't uncommon for blacks to be targets for lynchings, especially in the South. These were meant to keep black people in their place as an act of terror and intimidation. And yes, the Confederate Flag was used to justify this since it was seen as the emblem for the notoriously racist myth of the "Lost Cause." If this horrific scene doesn't justify calls to remove the Confederate Flag, then I don't know what does.

During the Jim Crow Era, it wasn’t uncommon for blacks to be targets for lynchings, especially in the South. These were meant to keep black people in their place as an act of terror and intimidation. And yes, the Confederate Flag was used to justify this since it was seen as the emblem for the notoriously racist myth of the “Lost Cause.” If this horrific scene doesn’t justify calls to remove the Confederate Flag, then I don’t know what does.

Seriously? Sure many whites think the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern pride and heritage, which has been hijacked by white supremacist groups. But as history tells us, there was never a time in which the Confederate flag was used to represent anything other than the right for whites to subjugate black people and perpetuate slavery. And when slavery was outlawed, it was used as a banner for white supremacy through any means whether it meant instilling Jim Crow laws, acts of extralegal terror, or opposing the Civil Rights Movement. It’s no wonder why so many people think it’s a racist symbol, particularly most African Americans who’ve seen it as nothing but a symbol of oppression and terror. The sheer presence and endorsement of such a flag by state governments promotes the idea that black lives don’t matter under any circumstance. And it doesn’t help that many Southern states have enacted laws that work against the best interests of the poor and minorities, particularly Voter ID laws, regressive taxes, welfare drug tests, right to work laws, and Stand Your Ground. So I’m sure that there’s nothing unjustified about removing a symbol that has denoted nothing more than white supremacy. This is especially if such ideas kept you from exercising your constitutional rights or in a system in which the odds of receiving justice weren’t in your favor.

  1. “If the Confederate Flag was used as a national flag, then how could it represent slavery and racism?”
In his "Cornerstone Speech," Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens declared that African slavery was the "immediate cause" of secession and that the Confederate Constitution had put to rest, "agitating questions" as to the "proper status of the negro in our form of civilization." Naturally the Article 1 Section 9 (4) in the Confederate Constitution says: "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed." So the chief and immediate cause of the American Civil War was slavery. As Alex Stephens said it himself. Ironically, he was also friends with a little-known Illinois politician named Abraham Lincoln.

In his “Cornerstone Speech,” Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens declared that African slavery was the “immediate cause” of secession and that the Confederate Constitution had put to rest, “agitating questions” as to the “proper status of the negro in our form of civilization.” Naturally the Article 1 Section 9 (4) in the Confederate Constitution says: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” So the chief and immediate cause of the American Civil War was slavery. As Alex Stephens said it himself. Ironically, he was also friends with a little-known Illinois politician named Abraham Lincoln.

First off, the Confederate Flag we know was officially used as a Battle flag and was only a national flag in an unofficial capacity. Secondly, preservation and expansion of slavery was the most important reason why the South seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy in the first place. Slavery was even called “the cornerstone of the Confederacy” for God’s sake. And obviously, you can’t enslave blacks without having some justification that it’s perfectly fine to do so. Thus, that’s where racism and white supremacy kick in, especially when it comes to getting poorer whites to accept and defend the status quo even if it’s not in their best interests to do so.

  1. “The Confederate Flag is a quaint historical artifact and a memorial to those who’ve fought gallantly and bravely (even in a service of a cause no longer considered virtuous).”
Had the Confederate Flag been confined to be used for educational, historical, and memorial purposes, it would've remained a quaint artifact of history. Unfortunately, white Southerners who supported the Confederate cause never got over racism or losing the Civil War. So instead they made the Confederate Flag an emblem for the "Lost Cause" myth which they used to justify the systematic discrimination and violence against African Americans for decades.

Had the Confederate Flag been confined to be used for educational, historical, and memorial purposes, it would’ve remained a quaint artifact of history. Unfortunately, white Southerners who supported the Confederate cause never got over racism or losing the Civil War. So instead they made the Confederate Flag an emblem for the “Lost Cause” myth which they used to justify the systematic discrimination and violence against African Americans for decades.

Now I am not against anyone honoring their ancestors for their gallantry and bravery, even if it wasn’t on the right side or in service of a cause I wouldn’t consider virtuous. However, if the Confederate Flag was just used as a quaint historical artifact and memorial only shown in museums, historical societies, soldiers’ reunions, or soldiers’ graves, then I’d have little to no problem with it. Unfortunately, people don’t always learn their lessons and even when slavery was outlawed in the US, the virulent ideas of white supremacy remained, especially in the South. We know this because many Southern whites were so vehemently opposed to Reconstruction policies that they’d commit acts of terror to make sure African Americans didn’t exercise their rights. And when these guys returned to power, they passed significant legislation to segregate, disenfranchise, as well as deny them any kind of opportunity for advancement. They also justified such actions through an ideology known as the “Lost Cause” which painted blacks as loyal, benevolent, and subservient slaves to their masters as well as claimed that the American Civil War was fought over states’ rights, not slavery. It also reinforced notions that Jim Crow laws were a proper solution to Reconstruction racial tensions, Confederate soldiers were good, Union soldiers were bad, the Klu Klux Klan were heroic vigilantes, Robert E. Lee was an infallible icon, African American freedom and political power was bad, and any violence committed against blacks was justified no matter how illegal. The Confederate Flag was often seen as a symbol for the “Lost Cause” which promoted such ideas as well as remained an influential narrative of the Civil War for years since it was a history that many white Southerners were comfortable with. Plus, most textbook companies usually cater to Texas anyway. But the “Lost Cause” mythology’s key characteristic was the use of white supremacy as a means to an end. So while the Confederate Flag may be seen as historic artifact by some to honor Confederate soldiers, it’s also been used for far more sinister purposes such as oppressing black people for decades.

  1. “Slavery and racism wasn’t just limited to the Old South.”
Yes, slavery existed in the North as well as the South during the Colonial and Revolutionary Eras. And I'm aware racism in the North has existed as well. However, between 1777 to 1804, Northern states have taken steps to outlaw the practice, though most took gradual steps.

Yes, slavery existed in the North as well as the South during the Colonial and Revolutionary Eras. And I’m aware racism in the North has existed as well. However, between 1777 to 1804, Northern states have taken steps to outlaw the practice, though most took gradual steps.

Yes, I’m well aware that slavery and racism have existed in the North as well as still does to a certain extent. And yes, I know that doesn’t get much attention in the history books as it should (but you can say the same for a lot of stuff in American history, unfortunately). But most of the racism in the North had more to do with economics, political representation, and housing combined with the fact that they were viewed as inferior because they looked different from everyone else. But the racism was nonetheless destructive, systematic, and pervasive as anyone would know from the life of Malcolm X. And yes, white supremacy terrorism, lynchings, and other extralegal violence did take place there, too. Still, while the North had segregation, too, African Americans had more political rights and economic opportunities than they would’ve in the South (for instance, the right to vote). You can also say the same for the West as well (where the African American population has been way underrepresented in western movies).

While slavery was practiced in the North during the Colonial Era and the American Revolution, it was never as widely practiced or seen as anything economically important as in the South. This chart shows the right and restrictions of Northern slaves.

While slavery was practiced in the North during the Colonial Era and the American Revolution, it was never as widely practiced or seen as anything economically important as in the South. This chart shows the right and restrictions of Northern slaves.

However, while the North isn’t completely innocent of racial injustices either (as I can testify), it was never to the extent that they saw slavery as a cornerstone to the social order which must be preserved by any means necessary. In fact, between 1777 to 1804, every state north of the Ohio River and the Mason-Dixon Line have passed anti-slavery laws and constitutions though for many it was a gradual process. But this didn’t mean the North didn’t have any economic interests in slavery or that Northern free blacks were treated equal to whites prior to the Civil War, which was certainly not the case. Nor did it mean that all of the abolitionists weren’t racist for that wasn’t the case either (with a notable exceptions of Frederick Douglass and John Brown). It wasn’t uncommon for Northerners to oppose slavery due to the view that it was incompatible with free labor.

John C. Calhoun was an influential politician during the Antebellum Era as well as one of the most terrible who ever lived. His most important contributions are ideas that states can declare federal laws null and void that they believed unconstitutional as well as the notion of slavery being a positive good. Such views would be influential in South's escalating threats of and eventual secession.

John C. Calhoun was an influential politician during the Antebellum Era as well as one of the most terrible who ever lived. His most important contributions are ideas that states can declare federal laws null and void that they believed unconstitutional as well as the notion of slavery being a positive good. Such views would be influential in South’s escalating threats of and eventual secession.

The South, on the other hand, had an economic system that depended on slavery that they developed a militant pro-slavery ideology that Southerners responded waged vitriolic responses to political change in the North, especially when it came to slavery in the territories and runaways in the North. The fact Abraham Lincoln came from a party opposed to slavery expansion led several southern states to secede from the Union. When slavery was outlawed, white Southerners weren’t at all happy that they did whatever it took to return to power and do whatever it took to make sure African Americans didn’t exercise their political or economic rights. When African Americans tried to defy them, Southern whites responded with terrorism and violence as long as they could get away with it. And despite the strides blacks took during the Civil Rights Movement, it’s still the case in many ways but in a different form. Yes, the North isn’t above committing racial injustices. But racism was never so ingrained or central in Northern society that it would be willing to divide the country over the right to subjugate a group of people into a lifetime of involuntary servitude due to the color of their skin.

  1. “But slavery existed in America long before the Confederate Flag.”
Yes, the US had slavery long before the Confederate Flag. But the United States was founded on the ideas of life, liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. And it was these ideas that helped influence the Abolitionist Movement dedicated to outlaw slavery throughout the Union during the Antebellum years. Did they think black people were equal? No, but that's beside the point.

Yes, the US had slavery long before the Confederate Flag. But the United States was founded on the ideas of life, liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. And it was these ideas that helped influence the Abolitionist Movement dedicated to outlaw slavery throughout the Union during the Antebellum years. Did they think black people were equal? No, but that’s beside the point.

Yes, but the United States wasn’t founded on the idea of preserving or expanding an institution dedicated to subjugating black people to a lifetime of involuntary servitude. Sure many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves and held racist views. But as any school child knows, the US was founded as nation based on the ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well as that “all men are created equal.” Many of our Founding Fathers may not have believed it in the strictest sense but such ideas have inspired a spirit present in movements related to abolitionism, feminism, civil rights, organized labor, LGBT rights, and other social reforms. Sure there may be Americans who have funny ideas about liberty but in some ways, these ideals have inspired a lot of positive things in this country. And it’s these ideals that have helped made the US flag such a sacred symbol of our nation that embodies them. On the other hand, the Confederacy was founded on preserving and expanding an institution that denied blacks any recognition of humanity and justified even illegal violence to keep it that way.

  1. “But the Confederate Flag is on the state flag of Mississippi.”
This is the state flag of Mississippi. The Confederate Flag square on the top left represents states longing for a time in their history when they were the state with the most millionaires. Of course, knowing Mississippi you can guess why. Not surprisingly, it has been this state's flag since 1894 so it was adopted by an all-white legislature bent on making sure that blacks have no economic or political power.

This is the state flag of Mississippi. The Confederate Flag square on the top left represents states longing for a time in their history when they were the state with the most millionaires. Of course, knowing Mississippi you can guess why. Not surprisingly, it has been this state’s flag since 1894 so it was adopted by an all-white legislature bent on making sure that blacks have no economic or political power.

Yes, but that’s a problem for the state government of Mississippi to sort out. But if you want to show your love for Mississippi then I see no reason for you to fly it (but I recommend that you put on a disclaimer). Just remember that the Confederate Battle Flag was put on it in 1894 at a time when the state’s black residents were denied political rights and economic opportunities thanks to white supremacists politicians.

  1. “The Confederate Flag is a symbol of resistance against an oppressive authority.”
While Confederate Flag supporters tend to argue that the South seceded due to Northern economic and cultural aggression, it's really not the case. In fact, it had more to do with the fact that the North didn't want to cooperate or expand slavery and had successfully retaliated by electing Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. This shows the caning of Massachusetts US Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina US Congressman Preston Brooks in the Senate chamber. Yes, the South was usually the aggressor when it came to the years leading up to the American Civil War.

While Confederate Flag supporters tend to argue that the South seceded due to Northern economic and cultural aggression, it’s really not the case. In fact, it had more to do with the fact that the North didn’t want to cooperate or expand slavery and had successfully retaliated by electing Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. This shows the caning of Massachusetts US Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina US Congressman Preston Brooks in the Senate chamber. Yes, the South was usually the aggressor when it came to the years leading up to the American Civil War.

People tend to use the Confederate Flag thinking it a symbol of rebellion and sticking it to the man, thanks to the “Lost Cause” ideology that painted the North as an oppressive authority that just steamrolled them with superior resources and manpower (even though these weren’t the only reasons the North beat the South). And that the South split from the Union over Northern economic and cultural aggression over the Southern way of life. But contrary to popular belief, both North and South supported states’ rights only when it was convenient to do so. This is especially true with slavery an institution they not only wanted to protect but also expand and didn’t give a shit what the North thought about it as long as the area didn’t become powerful enough to overtake their influence on the federal government. As Brooks Adams noted: “Between the slave power and states’ rights there was no necessary connection. The slave power, when in control, was a centralizing influence, and all the most considerable encroachments on states’ rights were its acts. The acquisition and admission of Louisiana; the Embargo; the War of 1812; the annexation of Texas “by joint resolution” [rather than treaty]; the war with Mexico, declared by the mere announcement of President Polk; the Fugitive Slave Law; the Dred Scott decision — all triumphs of the slave power — did far more than either tariffs or internal improvements, which in their origin were also southern measures, to destroy the very memory of states’ rights as they existed in 1789. Whenever a question arose of extending or protecting slavery, the slaveholders became friends of centralized power, and used that dangerous weapon with a kind of frenzy. Slavery in fact required centralization in order to maintain and protect itself, but it required to control the centralized machine; it needed despotic principles of government, but it needed them exclusively for its own use. Thus, in truth, states’ rights were the protection of the free states, and as a matter of fact, during the domination of the slave power, Massachusetts appealed to this protecting principle as often and almost as loudly as South Carolina.”

Whenever it came to states' rights in the years leading up to the American Civil War, it was only Southern states' rights that the South really cared about. To them, infringing their northern neighbors' rights not to support slavery was fair game to them. This was demonstrated with their support for the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott Decision. As with any states' rights proponent, Southerners only supported states' rights when it suited them.

Whenever it came to states’ rights in the years leading up to the American Civil War, it was only Southern states’ rights that the South really cared about. To them, infringing their northern neighbors’ rights not to support slavery was fair game to them. This was demonstrated with their support for the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott Decision. As with any states’ rights proponent, Southerners only supported states’ rights when it suited them, particularly on policies they didn’t like.

Historian William C. Davis explained the Confederate Constitution’s protection at the national level as: “To the old Union they had said that the Federal power had no authority to interfere with slavery issues in a state. To their new nation they would declare that the state had no power to interfere with a federal protection of slavery. Of all the many testimonials to the fact that slavery, and not states’ rights, really lay at the heart of their movement, this was the most eloquent of all.” So the kind of “economic and cultural aggression” the South was rebelling against was that the North simply didn’t want the Southern way of life encroaching on their states’ rights. In fact, the South wanted to remain dominant in the federal government in order to protect and expand slavery. When they failed to maintain dominance of the federal government through democratic means (as demonstrated by Abraham Lincoln’s election as president), they sought other means such as military aggression by right of force and coercion. Thus, the Civil War occurred. Nevertheless, who was the aggressor in the Civil War is very hard to say, but in the decades leading up to it, I’m certain it wasn’t the North.

  1. “But you see many black people with a Confederate Flag. So how can it be racist?”
Now Confederate Flag defenders love to show black people with the banner they love to prove it's not racist. However, symbols and words can carry a different meaning than what the individual intends. Such actions don't disprove the Confederate Flag as a racist symbol regardless of the individual's race or ethnicity. In fact, most African Americans view the Confederate Flag as racist. So sorry, Kanye West.

Now Confederate Flag defenders love to show black people with the banner they love to prove it’s not racist. However, symbols and words can carry a different meaning than what the individual intends. Such actions don’t disprove the Confederate Flag as a racist symbol regardless of the individual’s race or ethnicity. In fact, most African Americans view the Confederate Flag as racist. So sorry, Kanye West.

Like I said, symbols and words can carry meanings that stand independently of any individual’s subjective interpretation. There may be African Americans who may not think the Confederate Flag is a racist symbol. But this doesn’t mean that all blacks share this view. In fact, most blacks usually link the Confederate Flag to white supremacy as well as anti-black suppression and terrorism. And history shows that they have a compelling reason to believe this since the “Lost Cause” myth as well as its use by politicians

  1. “But various Southern Rock groups used the Confederate Flag like Lynyrd Skynyrd.”
Since the 1960s and 1970s, many Southern Rock bands have used Confederate Flag imagery. Lynyrd Skynyrd is the most famous among them. However, since 2012, the band has stopped using the flag on their albums and promotional materials  due to racist connotations. Same goes for Wal Mart and NASCAR in recent years.

Since the 1960s and 1970s, many Southern Rock bands have used Confederate Flag imagery. Lynyrd Skynyrd is the most famous among them. However, since 2012, the band has stopped using the flag on their albums and promotional materials due to racist connotations. Same goes for Wal Mart and NASCAR in recent years.

Yes, but Lynyrd Skynyrd has distanced themselves from that symbol since 2012 and has stopped using the flag on their albums and promotional materials. This was over the racist connotations. And since the Charleston shooting, it has been dropped by various retailers, flag manufacturers, and NASCAR.

  1. “The Civil War’s been over for 150 years so why waste our time over arguing about the Confederate Flag?”
As long as people revere and celebrate the Confederate Flag, then they shall carry the banner of a heritage that embodies nothing but the worst of their history. The Confederate Flag is nothing but a white supremacist symbol that advocates racism, hate, and violence against African Americans. It always has been and always will. We need to take it down for good.

As long as people revere and celebrate the Confederate Flag, then they shall carry the banner of a heritage that embodies nothing but the worst of their history. The Confederate Flag is nothing but a white supremacist symbol that advocates racism, hate, and violence against African Americans. It always has been and always will. We need to take it down for good.

Yes, slavery may be over. But the racism is still alive and well which affects those victimized by it whether it be through violence or the system. Blacks still find themselves discriminated against, undervalued, and negatively stereotyped, especially in the South. And whenever African Americans demonstrated in Ferguson and Baltimore over unlawful police killings saying “Black Lives Matter,” there were plenty of whites who saw them as nothing but disrespectful thugs (which may be true for some but that’s beside the point). White supremacy groups still remain in this country and they still do terrible things. Even though many may not be violent or perhaps racist, many still display the Confederate Flag believing it represents something that it doesn’t. And we still have Americans still expressing reverence for the “Lost Cause” myth which is still taught in American schools, especially since textbook companies still cater to Texas. But if we didn’t have slavery, the Civil War, and Martin Luther King Day, then I’m sure that much of African American history would be ignored in the classroom. Not to mention, when it comes to antebellum slavery, schoolchildren are more likely to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin than The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass: American Slave. Not only that, but the “Lost Cause” myth also distorts the American Civil War that paints a picture of the conflict which had nothing to do with the reality.

How to Treat an American Flag

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The American flag is one of the United States’ most significant and powerful patriotic symbols. We have so many stuff for it such as our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” written by a lawyer named Francis Scott Key who witnessed the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 while a prisoner on a British ship in Baltimore Harbor. Of course, even though the flag has been around since the American Revolution but contrary to what you might’ve learned in school, it was definitely not designed by a woman named Betsy Ross (that was just some bullshit story made up by her grandson). It was more likely designed by Continental Congress delegate and signer of the Declaration of Independence Francis Hopkinson (and even his claim has holes in it but at least his involvement with the design is supported by evidence). Yet, there are also stories relating to other individuals as well. But as to whoever sewn the first American flag, it could be any flag maker in Philadelphia. Over the years, it has gone through many renditions, there wasn’t a lot of rules that pertained to the stars and stripes at first save perhaps that it should include 13 red and white stripes as well as a blue square at the top left corner that consisted of a number of stars that depicted the number of states at the time. However, until 1912, there was no pattern to how the stars should be displayed. And if you go to an American Civil War museum, then you’d find a lot of interesting patterns.

One of the many designs you might see of a Union flag in an American Civil War museum. The star configuration on the flag wouldn't be established until 1912.

One of the many designs you might see of a Union flag in an American Civil War museum. The star configuration on the flag wouldn’t be established until 1912.

Despite that the Stars and Stripes was adopted in 1777, it wasn’t until 146 years later when there was a serious attempt to establish a uniform code of etiquette for the US flag. On February 15, 1923, the War Department issued the US Flag Code which was adopted almost in their entirety on June 14 of that year by a conference of 68 patriotic organizations in Washington D.C. However, the US Flag Code didn’t become official law until years later. Now military branches have their own codes for the American Flag. This is for civilians.

If something has the likeness of an American flag to an observer, then it should be seen as an American flag. Since this house is painted as an American flag, it's basically disrespect.

If something has the likeness of an American flag to an observer, then it should be seen as an American flag. Since this house is painted as an American flag, it’s basically disrespect.

“The words “flag, standard, colors, or ensign”, as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.” –Introduction to the US Flag Code Ch. 1 Title 4.

When to Display the Flag

The flag should be displayed at all times on a pole at public buildings, legal holidays, and other occasions.

The flag should be displayed at all times on a pole at public buildings, legal holidays, and other occasions. On all days, it’s usually hoisted on flagstaffs from sunrise to sunset.

On all days, especially on legal holidays and other special occasions.

It's always customary for classrooms to stand up and recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" every morning. But even though I love my country, saying the Pledge was kind of a pain in the ass for me. Nevertheless, Francis Bellamy had a way to salute the flag during the pledge but it was discontinued in the 1940s for bearing too much similarities to the Hitler salute (yes, really).

It’s always customary for classrooms to stand up and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” every morning. But even though I love my country, saying the Pledge was kind of a pain in the ass for me. Nevertheless, Francis Bellamy had a way to salute the flag during the pledge but it was discontinued in the 1940s for bearing too much similarities to the Hitler salute (yes, really).

On official buildings when in use, in or near polling places on election days, and in or near schools when in session.

Customary between sunrise and sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.

Citizens may fly it at any time.

The American flag flies continuously at the US Marine War Memorial in Washington D. C. which depicts the statue of the soldiers in the Iwo Jima flag raising photo, which was staged as said in Flags of Our Fathers. What happened to the men in it is pretty sad.

The American flag flies continuously at the US Marine War Memorial in Washington D. C. which depicts the statue of the soldiers in the Iwo Jima flag raising photo, which was staged as said in Flags of Our Fathers. What happened to the men in it is pretty sad.

May be displayed at night, on special occasions, preferably lighted.

Flies at the White House and the East and West fronts as well as the dome of the US Capitol at all times and at the US House and Senate while in session. Other places it flies continuously at: US customs and ports of entry, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine as well as Flag House Square in Baltimore, the Francis Scott Key Home, the Marine Corps War Memorial (Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima), Battle Green at Lexington, Massachusetts, the South Pole, the Moon, Valley Forge, and other places by custom.

50 flags are continuously displayed at the Washington Monument.

A Civil War era flag flies continuously at Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College.

Small flags usually fly at all times on graves of those who’ve served in the US military.

Flying the Flag at Half-Staff

To fly a flag at half staff is a sign of a nation in mourning. This is usually done upon deaths of high elected official, days of remembrance, and upon presidential proclamation.

To fly a flag at half staff is a sign of a nation in mourning. This is usually done upon deaths of high elected official, days of remembrance, and upon presidential proclamation.

Signal of mourning.

Should be hoisted to the peak before being lowered to half-staff.

Durations:

  • By presidential proclamation.
  • 30 days from the day of death for a sitting or former president.
  • 10 days from the day of death for a current Vice President, current/retired Chief Supreme Court Justice, and Speaker of the House.
  • Day of death to day to burial for associate Supreme Court Justice, cabinet member, former Vice President, Senate president pro tempore, and House and Senate majority and minority leaders.
  • Day of death to following day in DC and day of death to burial in decedent’s constituency for US senator, representative, territorial delegate, and residential commissioner for Puerto Rico.
  • Day of death to burial in the decedent’s constituency for governor.
  • On Memorial Day until noon and then raised at peak.
  • On Korean War Veterans Armistice Day (July 27), National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7), and Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15).

How to Fly the Flag

This picture illustrates how you should fly the United States flag. And believe me, the US flag code thinks of everything.

This picture illustrates how you should fly the United States flag. And believe me, the US flag code thinks of everything.

Should be hoisted briskly and ceremoniously.

Should never touch the ground or floor.

When hung over a sidewalk, union side should be away from the building.

When hung over the center of a street, union side should be to the north in an east-west street and to the east in a north-south street.

Must not fly any flag above it or to the right if flown at the same level, except at the United Nations Headquarters and only the UN flag for the former and the member states for the latter.

When 2 flags are placed against a wall with crossed staffs, it should be at right and in front of the staff of the other flag.

When a number of flags are grouped and displayed on staffs, it should be at the center and highest point of the group.

When displayed on a private estate, it shouldn’t be hung (unless at half-staff or when an all weather flag is displayed) during rain or violent weather.

Church and Platform Use

In an auditorium, must be displayed flat, above, and behind the speaker.

When displayed on a staff at church or in a public auditorium, it must hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in a position of honor on the speaker’s right while he or she faces the audience. Other flags should be placed on the left facing the audience.

When it is displayed at the floor of a church or public auditorium, it should be placed on the speaker’s left.

While it may seem like a US Flag Code violation, it's actually not since this photo was taken behind the scenes. The code calls the stars to be at the observer's left and will certainly look like this to the audience. Thus, this is correct.

While it may seem like a US Flag Code violation, it’s actually not since this photo was taken behind the scenes. The code calls the stars to be at the observer’s left and will certainly look like this to the audience. Thus, this is correct.

When displayed horizontally or vertically against the wall or hung, the stars should be uppermost and at the observer’s left.

The only acceptable time when an American flag can be draped is on a coffin during a funeral for a serviceman, public official of high standing, or first responders, especially if killed in the line of duty.

The only acceptable time when an American flag can be draped is on a coffin during a funeral for a serviceman, public official of high standing, or first responders, especially if killed in the line of duty. However, it should be removed and folded before being presented to the next of kin.

When covering a casket, it should be placed so that the union (star side) is at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave or touch the ground.

Ways to display it on a casket:

  • Closed Casket: When the flag is used to drape a closed casket, it should be so placed that the union (blue field) is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. It may be said that the flag is embracing the deceased who in life has served the flag.
  • Half Couch (Open): When the flag is used to drape a half-couch casket, it should be placed three layers to cover the closed half of the casket in such a manner that the blue field will be the top fold, next to the open portion of the casket on the deceased’s left.
  • Full Couch (Open): When the flag is used to drape a full-couch casket, it should be folded in a triangular shape and placed in the center part of the head panel of the casket cap, just above the left shoulder of the deceased. (ushistory.org)

Maintaining the Flag

Look, I understand you want a picture of your cat for Facebook patriotic kitten photo contest. But still, American flags shouldn't be on the ground nor be placed in a jumbled up mess.

Look, I understand you want a picture of your cat for Facebook patriotic kitten photo contest. But still, American flags shouldn’t be on the ground nor be placed in a jumbled up mess.

When lowered, it should never touch the ground, water, or other object as well as received in waiting hands. It should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

Of course, I can attach much political symbols on this picture during the 5th anniversary of 9/11. But even Mr. and Mrs. Bush should know better than to step and wipe their feet on the stars and stripes.

Of course, I can attach much political symbols on this picture during the 5th anniversary of 9/11. But even Mr. and Mrs. Bush should know better than to step and wipe their feet on the stars and stripes.

It should never be stepped on.

Gee, Beatles, this picture of the American flag seems all right with the union at the observer's left, but it's hung a little too low since the Fab Four are basically stepping on it. Then again, I'll just let them off this one since they're fantastic and British.

Gee, Beatles, this picture of the American flag seems all right with the union at the observer’s left, but it’s hung a little too low since the Fab Four are basically stepping on it. Then again, I’ll just let them off this one since they’re fantastic and British. Also, they probably weren’t consulted.

It should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

The flag should be ceremoniously folded like this:

And here's a step-by-step graphic to show you. As my experience with folding an American flag at West Overton, you need at least one other person to do this. Seriously, you see this flag folding at military funerals.

And here’s a step-by-step graphic to show you. As my experience with folding an American flag at West Overton, you need at least a few people to do this. Seriously, you see this flag folding at military funerals.

1. Begin by holding it waist-high with another person so that its surface is parallel to the ground.
2. Fold the lower half of the stripe section lengthwise over the field of stars, holding the bottom and top edges securely.
3. Fold the flag again lengthwise with the blue field on the outside.
4. Make a rectangular fold then a triangular fold by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open top edge of the flag, starting the fold from the left side over to the right.
5. Turn the outer end point inward, parallel to the open edge, to form a second triangle.
6. The triangular folding is continued until the entire length of the flag is folded in this manner (usually thirteen triangular folds, as shown at right). On the final fold, any remnant that does not neatly fold into a triangle (or in the case of exactly even folds, the last triangle) is tucked into the previous fold.
7. When the flag is completely folded, only a triangular blue field of stars should be visible.

How to Dispose of a Worn Flag

If you have an American flag that's worn out and torn to shreds, you can dispose it right in bins like these from organizations like the Boy Scouts, American Legion, VFW, the military, or others.

If you have an American flag that’s worn out and torn to shreds, you can dispose it right in bins like these from organizations like the Boy Scouts, American Legion, VFW, the military, or others.

When the flag is in a condition that makes it no longer an emblem for display, it must be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably burning. If you can’t do it yourself remember that you can always contact your local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Boy Scouts of America, the military or other organizations that conduct dignified flag burning and retirement ceremonies.

As your flag deteriorates, you might want to think about disposing it in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. There's a lot of organizations that take tattered flags and retire them.

As your flag deteriorates, you might want to think about disposing it in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. There’s a lot of organizations that take tattered flags and retire them.

However, if it’s made from polyester or nylon, it’s best if you have it recycled due to hazardous gases being produced while it’s being burned.

Nevertheless, if you find a damaged flag say from an era prior to 1912, you might want to have preserved in a museum immediately.

When to Salute the Flag

Unless you're a member of the band playing the National Anthem or recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance," it's always customary to salute the flag. Servicemen do the military salute while civilians place their right hands on their hearts.

Unless you’re a member of the band playing the National Anthem or recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance,” it’s always customary to salute the flag. Servicemen do the military salute while civilians place their right hands on their hearts.

All should face the flag, stand at attention and salute on these occasions:

1. When the flag is passing in a parade or review
2. During the ceremony of hoisting and lowering
3. While the national anthem is played
4. During the Pledge of Allegiance

During these occasions, those in uniform should render military style. Civilians should place the right hand over their heart. Men wearing hats should remove them and old it on their left shoulders during the salute.

Prohibited Uses of the Flag

Sure we may remember Janet Jackson exposing her boob at the Super Bowl in 2004. But I also remember seeing Kid Rock wearing an American flag and clutching his crotch in one of the most disrespectful ways to treat the Stars and Stripes.

Sure we may remember Janet Jackson exposing her boob at the Super Bowl in 2004. But I also remember seeing Kid Rock wearing an American flag and clutching his crotch in one of the most disrespectful ways to treat the Stars and Stripes.

Don’t dip the flag into any person or thing (except if it’s a customary ship salute).

Now this soldier has his flag upside down to say our nation is in distress over the killing of innocents in the Middle East, which is fine. However, the writing on the flag is actually more disrespectful.

Now this soldier has his flag upside down to say our nation is in distress over the killing of innocents in the Middle East, which is fine. However, the writing on the flag is actually more disrespectful.

Don’t display the flag with the union side down except as a distress signal.

It's always a tradition in pro football games to display the American flag on the field. However, it's also a violation of the US Flag Code done in the name of patriotism. Then again, it looks good for the cameras.

It’s always a tradition in pro football games to display the American flag on the field. However, it’s also a violation of the US Flag Code done in the name of patriotism. Then again, it looks good for the cameras.

Don’t carry the flag horizontally or flat, but always aloft and free.

For God's sake, this is a patriotic national symbol, not a boat cover. Show a little respect for our country, you asshole!

For God’s sake, this is a patriotic national symbol, not a boat cover. Show a little respect for our country, you asshole!

Don’t display it on a float, automobile, train or a boat except from a staff.

Apparently somebody at the Homes and Gardens channel thought an American flag would make the perfect patriotic table spread. What it really is unpatriotic disrespect.

Apparently somebody at the Homes and Gardens channel thought an American flag would make the perfect patriotic table spread. What it really is unpatriotic disrespect.

Don’t place anything on it.

Sure this may be a heartwarming photo of patriotic cuteness. But the US flag code states you shouldn't let it touch the ground or put anything on it. Babies included.

Sure this may be a heartwarming photo of patriotic cuteness. But the US flag code states you shouldn’t let it touch the ground or put anything on it. Babies included.

Don’t use it as a ceiling covering.

Now while I see nothing wrong with honoring 9/11 victims, writing their names on this flag of honor is kind of disrespectful to the American flag according to the code. No disrespect, please.

Now while I see nothing wrong with honoring 9/11 victims, writing their names on this flag of honor is kind of disrespectful to the American flag according to the code. No disrespect, please.

Don’t place any word, design, insignia, number, letter, mark, picture, or drawing on it (meaning you don’t write anything on it or use it for any design).

For a Vice Presidential candidate known for her extremely hateful conservative comments and love for traditional American values, Sarah Palin sure doesn't have any qualms about desecrating the American flag with her autograph.

For a Vice Presidential candidate known for her extremely hateful conservative comments and love for traditional American values, Sarah Palin sure doesn’t have any qualms about desecrating a sacred national symbol with her autograph.

Don’t use it as a receptacle for carrying or delivering anything.

Sure this may seem like the kind of patriotic photo op that might leave some Americans in stitches. But the Flag code specifically states that the stars and stripes shouldn't be used as a receptacle for anything.

Sure this may seem like the kind of patriotic photo op that might leave some Americans in stitches. But the Flag code specifically states that the stars and stripes shouldn’t be used as a receptacle for anything.

Don’t use it as a cover for a statue or monument.

Sure using an American flag for advertising violates the US flag code. But name a company that doesn't do this around the 4th of July. Seriously, every car dealership and beer distributor does this all the time.

Sure using an American flag for advertising violates the US flag code. But name a company that doesn’t do this around the 4th of July. Seriously, every car dealership and beer distributor does this all the time.

Don’t use it for advertising or put an advertising sign attached to the staff or halyard.

Yes, the 4th of July is a time for patriotic party supplies. But this is possibly very disrespectful to the Stars and Stripes as the Flag Code demonstrates. You might want to go with Captain America instead.

Yes, the 4th of July is a time for patriotic party supplies. But this is possibly very disrespectful to the Stars and Stripes as the Flag Code demonstrates. You might want to go with Captain America instead.

Don’t impress, print, paint, or embroider it on articles boxes, napkins, or anything designed for temporary use and discard as well as stuff like handkerchiefs and cushions.

Okay, now I know Americans love their pets and like to use them in patriotic photo ops. However, it's best you don't put an American flag where it can incur soiling and damage such as in a dog's mouth.

Okay, now I know Americans love their pets and like to use them in patriotic photo ops. However, it’s best you don’t put an American flag where it can incur soiling and damage such as in a dog’s mouth.

Don’t fasten, store, display, or use it in a manner that could leave it easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

Sure this may be a sexy patriotic photo op. But it basically goes against the US flag code to wear an American flag so it's basically desecration.

Sure this may be a sexy patriotic photo op. But it basically goes against the US flag code to wear an American flag so it’s basically desecration.

Don’t use it as part of a costume or athletic uniform except if it’s a flag patch on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers, astronauts, and members of patriotic organizations (and only as designated by that organization). However, if you should wear a flag lapel, it should be pinned near the heart.

Hmm, Mrs. Palin, I know you love America and you want to take a photo to show it. But you know you're disrespecting the US flag by basically draping it on a chair. And she's among the same people who attack Obama for not wearing a lapel pin.

Hmm, Mrs. Palin, I know you love America and you want to take a photo to show it. But you know you’re disrespecting the US flag by basically draping it on a chair. And she’s among the same people who attack Obama for not wearing a lapel pin.

Don’t use it as drapery, bedding, apparel, or decoration of any sort (save a casket during funerals for servicemen, first responders, and high public officials as long as it’s taken off and ceremonially folded). If you want patriotic decoration and drapery for a speaker’s desk, go with a patriotic bunting instead with the blue above and white in the middle.

Want a patriotic decoration you can use for a podium or platform but don't want to desecrate the American flag? Use this bunting, goddammit! You can find them at any craft store.

Want a patriotic decoration you can use for a podium or platform but don’t want to desecrate the American flag? Use this bunting, goddammit! You can find them at any craft store.

Don’t festoon, draw back, up, bunched up, or in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

When it comes to flag desecration, this is perhaps the only way to disrespect the stars and strips that will get people wanting to put you in jail.

When it comes to flag desecration, this is perhaps the only way to disrespect the stars and stripes that will get people wanting to put you in jail.

As of now, there are no penalties for desecrating an American Flag though there have been suggestions with one law from 1968 saying that it could lead to a $1,000 fine or a year’s imprisonment. Nevertheless, as you’ve seen in the media, many Americans frequently violate these rules in the US Flag Code even though it’s usually those who burn the flag at protest rallies who usually receive the most criticism and calls for prosecution. Advertisers, athletic owners, and clothing designers, not so much but you see the flag’s image desecrated like this all the time in these ways. And sometimes having the flag used in this way is seen as promoting patriotism (even though the people who do this either don’t realize what they’re doing or really don’t care). And here the political spectrum doesn’t matter since shows of flag desecration are basically an American tradition at this point, even when played not to be. Even the US government does this as well since flags are a frequent image on postage stamps. Thus, to call anyone unpatriotic for disrespecting the flag is just stupid since it’s something we basically all do at one time or another.

Even the US government isn't above disrespecting the American flag in which it issues postage stamps in its likeness. However, as Americans, we tend to allow this.

Even the US government isn’t above disrespecting the American flag in which it issues postage stamps in its likeness. However, as Americans, we tend to allow this.

For more:

USFlag.org: http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html

FAQ on the flag: http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/faq.htm