Sins of Omission

A Perversion of History

If you think the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol was the end of flag controversy, you may be surprised to learn that an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times declared, “It’s time California dump” the Bear Flag, “a symbol of blatant illegality and racial prejudice.  Like the Confederate cross of St. Andrew, the Bear Flag is a symbol whose time has come and gone.”  A Californian born and reared, I’m beginning to understand how Southerners must be feeling as their heritage is being erased.  The op-ed also calls the Bear Flaggers “a band of thieves, drunks and murderers.”  Such a characterization of the Bear Flaggers is propaganda, not history.

A look at the men who raised the Bear Flag over the California Republic on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma reveals character, substance, and courage.  William Ide, who acted as “Commander” of the Bear Flaggers and was elected president of the newly proclaimed republic, was born in Massachusetts but spent many of his early years in Vermont.  He received a good education and would later study law.  After working a variety of jobs, he moved west—first to Ohio, then Missouri, and then Illinois.  While in Ohio, he joined the Latter-Day Saints.  He was especially attracted to the Mormon emphasis on total abstinence, frugality, and hard work. ...

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