<p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><img alt="" class="media-image attr__typeof__foaf:Image img__fid__35297 img__view_mode__default attr__format__default attr__field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]__ attr__field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]__" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/walmartflag1.png" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"> </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">The last few embers of Fourth of July fireworks had yet to cool before patriots across the nation, as far north as Oregon and Ohio, took to Walmarts to salute a symbol of insurrection that sought to protect slavery and led to the deaths of 620,000 Americans. The retail giant was the chosen rallying point because it recently removed Confederate flags from its shelves.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"> </p> <!--break--> <p>The rallies were organized by a social media group called Stand By the Flag. Here’s a typical invite, this one from <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/791470780950299/">Sunday’s event in Arlington</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Sunday July 5th we are asking everyone who holds our heritage and our institutions dear, to please bring a Confederate flag, an American flag, an ice chest, grill, off-road vehicles, diesel trucks, motorcycles, show cars and all your friends to the Arlington Walmart in support of the confederate flag. No American flag should ever be illegal. Our heritage is under attack. Now is the time to stand up for the blood-bought liberty we hold sacred, Sunday July 5th.</p> </blockquote> <p>What could be more American than celebrating the attempted dissolution of the federal Union? And, by the way, no action is being taken to outlaw the rebel flag, which was about as American as William Travis was Mexican.  </p> <p><span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">Though the organization touts the Sons of Confederate Veterans–endorsed “Heritage Not Hate” angle, that message is belied by commenters</span><span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;"> touting</span><span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;"> Racist America Radio broadcasts (Slogan: White Pride World Wide), which were on the </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/standbytheflag?fref=ts" style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">Stand By the Flag Facebook page</a><span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;"> as of this writing.</span><b style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;"> </b></p> <p>At any rate, the Arlington rally seems to have been a disappointment to its organizers. “Where is everyone, did everyone get too messed up last night to stand up for our rights and support the flag?” a disappointed partisan posted from the frontlines of the struggle.</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image attr__typeof__foaf:Image img__fid__35299 img__view_mode__default attr__format__default attr__field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]__ attr__field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]__" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/walmartflag2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p> <p>Even if that one was a dud, Texas was home to more than a few of these events: Katy, Silsbee, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1862020840689229/">Amarillo</a>, <a href="http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Demonstrators-Wave-Confederate-Flags-at-Texas-Rallies--311685171.html">Irving</a>, Kaufman, Gainesville, and a <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Confederate-Flag-rally-draws-100-to-Houston-mall-6366533.php">rolling event that traveled from Houston to Galveston</a>. Justin L., who said he’s with the Texas Coal Rollers Society, told the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>They're trying to take our history away. We're trying to make a movement, trying to encourage people to keep flying what they do because it's the history of this country.</p> <p>It's not hate, man, it's just heritage. It's what our country was founded on so we want to keep it going . . . don't give in to them.</p> </blockquote> <p>There was another flag rally in <a href="http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150705-rebel-rally.ece">Denton</a>, where supporter Rachel Jones offered up this historical analysis to the <em>Denton Record-Chronicle</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>It became a symbol of states’ rights, then it became a symbol of the heritage of the South. Slavery was just a check on someone else’s agenda during the war.</p> </blockquote> <p>No, I would say that in actuality slavery was a <a href="http://www.civil-war.net/census.asp?census=Total">check on 3,950,528 agendas</a>.</p> <p>And given its history, hosting a Stand By the Flag event in Gainesville seems more than a little problematic. Back in 1862, <a href="https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jig01">42 suspected Unionists and/or abolitionists were hung or shot after being tried by a kangaroo court </a>assembled by the town’s wealthiest slaveowners. To his credit, the quasi-legal massacre embarrassed and was thought unseemly by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, despite the fact that the Southern media generally praised the mass execution.</p> <p>But, I digress . . .</p> <p>Meanwhile in Odessa, songwriter Creed Fisher, leader of the Redneck Nation Band, released his NSFW musical take on recent events: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/creed.fisher/videos/1144534792229188/?pnref=story">“If You Have a Right to Burn My Flag (Then I Have a Right to Kick Your Ass)”</a></p> <p>It received more than 1.6 million views in two days.</p> <p>And the exact scenario Fisher framed in song came half-true when Michael Peek discovered somebody had <a href="http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/29413151/confederate-flag-burned">torched the rebel flag he hung over his front door</a> <span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">in suburban southeast Houston</span>. (Only half-true because no ass was kicked.)</p> <p>He told Fox 26:</p> <blockquote> <p>It was part of the war. My grandfather had a rebel flag. My great-grandfather had a rebel flag. My daddy had a rebel flag. Why can't I have a rebel flag?</p> <p>Me and my mother are both from Alabama. That's what the flag represents. It's our heritage. It has nothing to do with racial or anything to do with that—no kind of hate, nothing like that.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yes, brave and good men died in defense of that banner. Yes, I get that some of its supporters really do believe it represents the chivalry of Lee, the derring-do of Dick Dowling, and the steadfast bravery of Stonewall Jackson. </p> <p>They sincerely think the flag represents good manners and hospitality, moonlight and magnolias, crisp mint juleps and sultry Sazeracs, gracious Charleston and <em>laissez-les-bons-temps-roulez</em> New Orleans, three-chords-and-the-truth country music and natural-born rock and roll, the lyricism of William Faulkner and the unsettling stories of Flannery O’Connor.</p> <p>It’s about Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, the most competitive college football with the most passionate fans, gumbo seasoned just right and heaping bowls of Brunswick stew, pigmeat smoking in the crisp fall air and shrimp and grits that’ll make you cry.</p> <p>I know all this from birth. It’s embedded in my DNA. I am a native Texan and almost every root of my family tree extends deep into the soil of the Carolinas and Virginia. I get that there is heritage along with the hate, for real. But I think that in the case of that flag, hate has won. And it happened this century.</p> <p>For far too many Americans, that banner is about men stripped nude, castrated, set on fire, and dangled from trees in front of howling, leering mobs. It’s about seeing your grandfather called “boy” and forced to cringe, hat in hand, at the passing of every white. It’s about the back of the bus and being told you aren’t good enough to attend school, swim, play, eat, or attend a movie with white people. It’s about not being able to vote, buy the house you want, or get the best education you can. It’s the banner of someone else’s American Dream, one purchased on your labor and from which you got little return, and one you knew your children would have to endure the same way you did.</p> <p>Fly it all you want to on your own property, but g<span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">et that banner off taxpayer land. And </span>Walmart doesn’t have to sell you those flags if they don’t want to. Make your own if you have to; after all, our ancestors did. Why get one from a factory overseas?</p> <p><em>(Photos: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/standbytheflag?fref=ts">Facebook</a>)</em></p>

London’s bus route 19 might be where all the beautiful people are seen, but East Austin’s new double-decker #19 is where you’ll find absolutely gorgeous cheesesteaks and burgers. I unsuspectingly ambled into the trailer park they share with Lucky J’s and Cafe Racer on Saturday evening (or was it Sunday morning?), ready for a laid-back, late-night snack. Little did I know that I would be hit with lyrics about the infamous U.K. route by the Clash (spray-painted onto the bus by a local artist), a gaggle of mustachioed hipsters (whose beauty is debatable), and some of the heftiest, best bar food I’ve had in this town. Let’s start with the burger. A sweet, griddle-toasted bun enveloped a healthy eight-ounce patty and all the works—lettuce, cheese, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and sweet pickles. Now, I haven’t been to the Grape, in Dallas, which was number one in our 50 Greatest Burgers feature, but I did make myself sick on Houston hamburgers for that story. (Trying six of those puppies in one day should qualify as some sort of violation of the Geneva Convention.) I’m positive that this late-night monstrosity could give the Grape’s award-winning brunch item a run for its money.  The cheesesteak also impressed. Tim Lasater, the trailer’s owner, flies in the slivered, well-seasoned beef and the iconic Amoroso buns from Philly to give these enormous sammies an authentic feel. But he’s quick to point out that his signature dish is called a cheesesteak, not a Philly. So he can use all the American cheese and red bell peppers he wants, as well as the more-traditional onions, mushrooms, and green bell peppers. I’m not one to give preferential treatment to Pennsylvanian cities, so I also ordered a Chicago dog. I was excited about the all-Angus meat and exotic fixings, but the hot dog itself tasted bland, and even the neon-green relish, mustard, sport peppers, and tomato slices couldn’t spice it up. I wasn’t too upset when my lunch buddy dropped the whole thing in his lap, but I don’t think he was happy about tie-dyeing his khakis a fetching green color.  There are only five items on the #19’s menu, but they’re planning to add more, and soon. For now, bring some cash, gobble some grub at one of the bus’s rooftop tables, and set yourself up for a sleep that even the Clash’s loudest blasts couldn’t wake you from. Nighty night.