Confederate Flags In Ohio

In Ohio the Confederate flag is the flag of the enemy. It is the flag of the armies Ohio soldiers defeated. Waving or displaying the Confederate flag in Ohio is waving or displaying the flag of the enemy. If your father, grandfather or great grandfather fought in the Second World War against fascism, I am sure you would be offended by someone flying the flag of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.

To make a claim that the Confederate flag is a historical flag in Ohio is ingenuous. Many men from Ohio fought against that flag and what it stood for, and many Ohio men died fighting against what that flag represented. Only Pennsylvania and New York, states much more populous than Ohio, sent more men to war during the civil war. Today many Ohio residents, including myself, have ancestors who fought against that flag.

Slavery was banned in Ohio from the beginning. When the Northwest territory was formally organized in 1787, slavery was prohibited in the territory. The Northwest territory comprised the land north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River to the Canadian border. The Northwest territory organization act specified that the territory should be developed into five states. Today those states are Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Ohio was the first state created out of that Northwest territory when it became a state in 1803.

Ohio has a long history against slavery. Many Ohio residents risked arrest for deliberately violating the Fugitive Slave Act by helping slaves escape to Canada on the Underground Railroad. Throughout Ohio there are houses that hid runaway slaves. Many are still standing, even here in Cleveland. Cities like Cleveland along Lake Erie were often the final stop on the Underground Railroad where a boat could take them across the lake to freedom in Canada.

Ohio contributed several officers and many generals that fought against the Confederate flag. Famous generals who were keys to victory in the civil war such as Ulysses Grant, William Sherman, Phillip Sheridan, George Custer and James McPherson all were born and raised in Ohio. Five presidents from Ohio fought in the civil war against the Confederate flag. They were Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.

The only place in Ohio where a confederate flag should be displayed is in a museum or outdoor re-enactment where the history of the civil war is explained and displayed. Once the civil war was over, the southern states were welcomed back into the union and the stars and stripes has been the only flag representing our nation.

It wasn't until long after the civil war that the confederate battle flag became associated with the "lost cause" of the south. It was used by the night riders of the Ku Klux Klan in robes that were supposed to be the ghosts of the men killed fighting the "lost cause". The confederate flag became the flag and symbol of segregation and white supremacy. It was used to intimidate black people and keep them as second class citizens.

Slavery has been a stain on our country's history. Although the 13th amendment abolished slavery 155 years ago, the lingering effects of slavery are still evident. In many parts of this country people of color are still treated differently by police. A black boy growing up in many sections of the United States is 10 times more likely to go to prison than to go to college.

Here it is in 2020, 155 years after the end of the civil war, 56 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, 55 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law and 150 years after the 15th amendment was ratified guaranteeing the right to vote for any man "regardless of color or previous condition of servitude" and some people are using the battle flag of a defeated army as a symbol for bigotry.

There is no reason or logic for anyone to display the Confederate flag in Ohio. Displaying the Confederate flag is an affront to any person in Ohio who had an ancestor who fought in the civil war against that flag as well as anyone who stands for decency and equality. Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant and even Robert E Lee would be disgusted when people in the United States are using the confederate flag as a symbol of racism and hate.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:46 AM, 07.01.2020