Well, how about that. On Friday, the United States Marine Corps issued an administrative order banning the Confederate flag from all Marine installations.
Here’s the key part of the order:
3. PURPOSE. IN REFERENCE (A), THE COMMANDANT PROVIDED HIS RATIONALE TO EXCLUDE FROM OUR CORPS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF THE BATTLE FLAG CARRIED BY THE CONFEDERATE ARMY DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. REFERENCE (B) CHARGES COMMANDERS WITH THE AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE REASONABLE, NECESSARY, AND LAWFUL MEASURES TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER, AND TO PROTECT INSTALLATION PERSONNEL AND PROPERTY. THE MARINE CORPS SHALL REMOVE THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG FROM ALL INSTALLATION PUBLIC SPACES AND WORK AREAS IN ORDER TO SUPPORT OUR CORE VALUES, ENSURE UNIT COHESION AND SECURITY, AND PRESERVE GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE.
Of course, it’s mind-bendingly enraging that it took 155 years for this order to be issued. Still, it’s very good news, and I’ll take it.
Think the other armed services will follow suit? I’m not counting those chickens yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised at this point. After this order, along with various recent statements from both former and current military leaders, it’s starting to look like the U.S. military establishment is going to continue to side with democracy and, believe it or not, may actually play an active role in addressing racial injustice in America. (Now, if we can just get police departments across the country to do the same…)
This is another step in a good direction. I don’t want to get overly optimistic, but it’s really starting to feel like the tide may actually be turning.
We’re nowhere near out of the woods yet. In fact, things will still almost certainly get worse before they get better. And yet, right now I’m feeling more hopeful than I have since November 9, 2016.
We’re making progress. Change is happening. Let’s keep going.