A Neo-Confederate fetish group called the Virginia Flaggers have been generating reams of cringe-worthy drama over the past few weeks, claiming that their entire world will crumble into the sea if they can’t raise a sheet of nylon imprinted with the confederate naval jack along the interstate leading to Richmond, Virginia.
This group is a small gaggle of loons; some are from Virginia, many are not. None of them seem to care about how offensive this action is to the most of the population nor the fact that there are white supremacists like Matthew Heimbach among them.
We could start pointing fingers and naming names of some of the more moronic individuals in the group, like some mentally unbalanced trash novelist out of Pensacola FL, but demented histrionics– however embarassingly funny– are not article worthy.
The rumor is that their media-hound “leader” Susan Hathaway has stepped away from the group, and it is spinning out of control in the untrained hands of those who lack the social skills or emotional stability to know how to maintain the tattered remnants of the group’s positive media image.
It’s fifteen days until the unfurling of the gigantic sheet of Chinese nylon, and we’re scratching our heads. You see, it takes twenty eight days for concrete to fully set and cure, and to properly erect a tall flagpole and not hilariously topple over in a slight breeze, it should probably be up by now. At the very least, some manner of construction should be under way. But there isn’t anything of the sort happening anywhere inside the Bermuda Hundred Campaign area along interstate 95– no new flagpoles, no clearing of land, no tree-clearing operations to improve sight-lines… nothing!
So, if we eliminate the possibility that this goofy bag of nuts are putting up a structurally unsound flagpole, the only other scenario is that the whole saga is one massive hoax.
For what purpose? Well, there’s the matter of the three thousand plus dollars that was raised for “security fencing, lighting and a camera.” It’s as easy as a few mouse clicks to claim a bunch of mean people on the internet forced you to abandon your plans and that pile of cash suddenly just fades into the shadows. There’s also the old Richard Viguirie direct mail tactic to consider– yes, all of those well-wishers are now components of a dollar-a-name list that can be readily sold to any political campaign with the money.
But let’s dig into this a little further. The brilliant civil war historian Dr. Brooks Simpson has suggested two possibilities for the locations of the flag. Both are within the Bermuda Hundred Campaign area and both properties abut interstate 95.
The back yard is easy to see from the highway, but the house itself is down a long, private driveway. The owners of this property are in the remodeling and contracting business, which makes sense from a logistical standpoint– they might be people who had some business dealings with Susan Hathway, for example. Of course, Susan Hathaway dropped everything and ran as far from the flaggers as is possible, so this might have put a crimp in that plan– if there ever was one. But to publicly associate with a widely reviled hate group –a toothless joke of a hate group, even– is commercial suicide. Couple that with no visible work being done at the site and this scores low for probability.
Again, the back yard is nestled right against the highway, with a thin line of trees acting as a barrier between the property and the road. The houses here are close to their streets, so it’s very easy to see if any work is going on. Once again, no work is happening. There aren’t any traces of any heavy equipment, no recent tree work nor poured cement. Probability is low here too.
Both locations are demographically multi-ethnic working class, and it seems the height of folly (and bad southrin‘ manners!) to personally insult every single neighbor on your block for the sake of an offensive sheet of nylon.
So we have to wonder if the flag is going up at all– or if it’s not going up as advertised. Time will tell where the real location is, and with it the thundering deluge of inquisitive reporters who want to know exactly what possesses people to want to be forever tarnished with the symbol of slavery.