So the Civil War wasn't about slavery?

Before last week, Southern politicians defended the Confederate battle flag as an almost holy symbol of southern pride and heritage. Now, in the wake of a racist mass shooting -- and with seemingly very little actual urging -- these same politicians quickly are calling for its removal from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol.

It's hard to read that as anything other than a ploy to divert attention from the ease with which homicidal maniacs can get handguns. It's an especially cynical ploy, too, considering that some of these politicians were only recently defending the flag as something their venerated ancestors shed blood for. They're throwing their revered ancestors under the bus for guns.

But still, there's been some pushback to diverting attention onto the flag. A good many are defending the flag, claiming that the flag -- and by extension, the Confederacy and secession -- either have nothing to do with white supremacy, or that this association is only the result of a recent "revisionism."

No. Full stop. The Confederacy was formed to defend slavery. To say that the Confederacy fought for "states' rights" is a sleight of hand; what goes unsaid is that the sole right at stake was the right to hold blacks as slaves.

So here are some questions for the defenders of the flag and the Confederacy. If slavery had nothing to do with the Confederacy, then ...

"The voters in 35 Virginia counties with a slave population of only 2.5 percent opposed secession by a margin of three to one, while voters in the remainder of the state, where slaves constituted 36% of the population, supported secession by more than ten to one. The thirty counties of east Tennessee that rejected secession by more than two to one contained a slave population of only 8 percent, while the rest of the state, with a slave population of 30 percent, voted for secession by a margin of seven to one" (McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, 283-284).

And so on, endlessly. So fuck the Confederacy, its veterans, and above all its flag.