The Confederate flag is not the issue.
The real issue is how easily the Confederate leadership — civilian and military — were let off the hook following the Civil War.
If things had been done right, the whole legacy of racist, reactionary Southern culture of the time (1865), and now, would have been totally uprooted and destroyed.
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Occupy the ex-Confederate states with 10 times the federal troops and until at least 1910 or 1915, arm, train and deputize black militia forces for community defense.
Arrest, put on trial, convict and hang all the major leaders of the Confederate rebellion.
Never again allow lower Confederate leaders the right to vote or hold office. Seize their land and property, and then divide it among ex-slaves and poor whites. Same with property of the hanged.
Ruthlessly pursue and destroy all Klan type groupings.
Outlaw flying the Confederate battle flag, the Stars and Bars.
Cancel debts of poor whites owed to former slave owners and Southern banks. Educate them and society about the evils of slavery and racism.
Pass U.S. Constitutional amendments that mandate, in detail, full Federal control of Southern states’ election laws, electoral districts, race laws, etc. Outlaw discrimination across the board.
With this approach, the last 150 years would have been drastically different.
We would have been spared a lot of right-wing destructiveness. Lincoln, Johnson and Grant were too lenient and conciliatory — like President Barack Obama.