of debating that or any other postulate,rnto hear some back-and-forth on this.rnNot only might it have illuminated ourrncontemporary understanding of what thernCivil War means but it might even havernyielded some definition of the now-vacuousrnterm “racism.” But, barring that,rnthe senators who voted for the flagrnamendment might also have exploredrnother aspects of the issue. Mrs. Moseley-rnBraun herself, for example, represents arnstate that in 1848 adopted, by a popularrnvote of two-to-one, an amendment tornits constitution to forbid any free blacksrnfrom entering its territory, and for all Irnknow todav’s Illinois state flag is thernsame one that graced the Land of Lincolnrnat that time as well as a decade later,rnwhen the state’s foremost politicalrnfigures sallied up and down its lengthrnprofessing their commitment to whiternsupremacy. It would be of no small interestrnto know what Mrs. Moscley-Braunrnhas done or plans to do to rid Illinois ofrnits racist heritage and its continuing imprimaturrnof such explicit symbols ofrnracism as Mr. Lincoln and his cult.rnThen there is the small matter of thernAmerican flag, which, no less than thernStars and Bars, flapped over a nation thatrnnot onK- tolerated slavery but extendedrnthe protection of federal laws to the slaverntrade and slave owners. Mrs. Moseley-rnBraun, were she calm enough, might respondrnthat the American flag stood andrnstands for other things besides the protectionrnof slavery, but so, for that matter,rndid the Confederate flag, a concept sherndoes not appear to be able to entertainrnwith equanimity. Bv her own logic, shernought to burst into hysterics every timernshe spies Old Glory waving over thernCapitol, and indeed, perhaps she does.rnThe Senate’s patent for the UDC insignia,rnhowever, was never intended to bernan endorsement of the Confederacy orrneven of its flag. It was an endorsement ofrnthe UDC. Opponents of the patentrnpointed out, correctly, that the UDCrncould protect its insignia by instrumentsrnother than the rather unusual means of arncongressional resolution. So it can, butrnthe special senatorial “endorsement” ofrnthe UDC has historically been intendedrnto express the gratitude of the federalrngovernment to a private organizationrnthat has donated to the American peoplernuntold millions of dollars in Civil Warrnmemorials and monuments, land forrnpublic parks, scholarships, work in veteransrnhospitals, and charitable servicesrngenerally. As some defenders of thernUDC and its patent suggest, maybe thernDaughters should start asking for theirrncontributions back, or maybe theyrnshould stop offering them. There is nornreason why they should continue to bearrnthe burden of their charities when allrnthey receive for their labor are insultsrnfrom the human refuse of the Senate.rnYet despite the ignorance, hypocrisy,rningratitude, mendacity, and cowardicernexhibited by most of the senators, andrndespite the fanaticism and self-obsessionrnrevealed by the First Black Female Memberrnof the Senate, Mrs. Moseley-Braunrnhas one point in her favor. Unlike mostrnof her colleagues, she understands thernvalue and meaning of symbolism to thernidentity of a nation—that is why shernchose to make such a fuss about arn”mere” symbol in the first place—and itrnis precisely because she does understandrnit while many of her colleagues do notrnthat the fuss she made represents somethingrnimportant. What it represents isrnthe first wave of assault on the nationalrnidentity as most Americans have historieallvrnunderstood it, and unless the kindrnof attack she mounted is repulsed andrnthe social forces behind it reversed, thernConfederate flag will be only the firstrncasualty in the cultural war she and herrnallies are waging.rnOne who perceives the real meaningrnof Mrs. Moseley-Braun’s assault isrnJonathan Yardlcy, book review editor andrncolumnist at the Washington Post, whornexpatiated on the meaning of it all a fewdaysrnafter the First Black Female Memberrnof the Senate’s outburst. Mr. Yardlcvrnis himself a Southerner of the tribe thatrnadvances itself by making certain the enemiesrnof the South know he’s on theirrnside. There was a name for this tribe inrnthe days of Reconstruction and even arnmeans of dealing with it properly, butrnsadly those times are done. Mr. Yardleyrnseized the occasion of the flap over thernflag to make sure his bosses at the Postrnand his readers within the Beltway knewrnwhat he thought of the UDC, the flag,rnand those who came to their defense.rn”The day has long since passed,” hernwrote, “when the UDC had the power torninject its genteel poison into the communalrnbloodstream. It now limps towardrnthe end of the millennium a merernshade of its former self, the object of littlernexcept ridicule and neglect in all savernthose outposts of small-town Southernrninsularity in which it has always found arngentle welcome . . . the UDC is littlernmore than a foolish relic of a past byrnnow so distant as to seem prehistoric.”rnSo visible is Mr. Yardley’s personal resentmentrnat the symbols of the oldrnSouthern class system that it’s fairly easyrnto guess in which corner of the barnyardrnhis own forebears disported themselves.rnThe ladies of the UDC, he sneers, “forrnfar too long have enjoyed the favor of thernU.S. government,” and they “must nowrnlook for a new image with which tornadorn their scented letterheads and lacerndoilies; in their present mood, a violatedrnmaiden recumbent upon a bed of straw,rnwith Atlanta afire in the background,rnmight be appropriate.” Actually, burningrncities and raped women would bernmore appropriate symbols of the present-rnday United States that Mr. Yardleyrnprefers than they are of the Old South,rnwhich, for all its flaws of romanticism,rngenerally understood how to preventrnsuch things.rnMr. Yardley writes about the UDCrnlike a blackballed freshman would writernabout the fraternities that declined thernpleasure of his company. Yet whatever itrnis in his psyche or personal backgroundrnthat leads him to spit his own poisonrnabout a charitable organization that is atrnworst harmless and at best a generousrnsource of historical, educational, andrnphilanthropic service, Mr. Yardley correctlyrngrasped the historic meaning ofrnthe First Black Female Member of thernSenate’s onslaught.rn”The election of 1992,” he writes,rn”changed the Senate—and, by extension,rnAmerican polities—in ways we canrnonly now begin to understand . . . . Thernold boys’ club is breaking up, not merelyrnthe boys’ club of the Senate but thernboys’ club of leadership and power.rnWhat is most significant about the electionrnof Carol Moseley-Braun, BenrnNighthorse Campbell, Patty Murray andrnothers in the Class of ’92 isn’t that theyrnare politicians of a different stripe butrnthat they are people of a different stripe.rnThey speak for backgrounds and experiencesrnthat until now have been quiternunknown—and thus unrepresented—inrnthe halls of power; inevitably, this willrnchange the way business is done in thosernhalls.”rnPrecisely. What we are seeing in thernUDC episode is the first evidence at thernlevel of the national government of therndemographic changes and their culturalrnconsequences that American society isrnexperiencing and will continue to experience.rnThose changes, the direct resultrnof a rising nonwhite birth rate reinforcedrnNOVEMBER 1993/9rnrnrn