Bud Kennedy

The South isn’t rising again, just raising another rodeo fuss

Activists protesting a Stock Show rule handed out Confederate battle flags to paradegoers Saturday.
Activists protesting a Stock Show rule handed out Confederate battle flags to paradegoers Saturday. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The Confederacy is not finished with Fort Worth, no matter whether Fort Worth is finished with the Confederacy.

A hostile faction of Confederate battle-flag-waving activists plans to protest inside the Stock Show and Rodeo this weekend, after swarming downtown Fort Worth Saturday during the annual All Western Parade.

Pardner, when we say Fort Worth is “Where the West Begins,” that also means this is where the Deep South ends.

But tourists and residents who came for a Western parade saw a disturbing Southern protest.

“I’m crossing the … parade and see nothing but Confederate flags,” a Fort Worth high school student wrote on Twitter: “I am ready to go home.”

A cheerleader in town for a regional cheer competition wrote: “There is a parade going on in Fort Worth and there is a group of white men with rebel flags and White Lives Matter signs. Are you kidding me?”

A mother from Stephenville wrote on Facebook: “They were passing out small flags. Then as one of the high school bands started marching by they pulled out a sign that said ‘white lives matter’ in all caps and kept getting in the way. … I was appalled. Is this the type of country that my daughter is going to grow up in?”

The battle flag, the “Southern Cross,” has been phased out of prominence at the Stock Show over several years and was banned last year from parade units and vendor booths. The show uses the First National Flag of the Confederacy, the familiar red-white-and-blue flag used at Six Flags Over Texas.

“The Stock Show is not a political organization,” spokesman Matt Brockman told our reporter Saturday: “We are a place that celebrates our connections to the livestock industry and Western way of life.”

National Confederate heritage groups are divided. An activist faction of “Texas Vindicators” is staging protests to defend and uphold the “cause” of Southern secession.

They describe that cause as sovereignty and anti-federalism.

But Texas’ 1861 Secession Convention said the cause was “maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race.”

Some “Vindicator” groups even refuse to display the American flag or say the pledge of allegiance.

Another split emerged Saturday, when white and black Confederate activists from a Missouri-based club refused to stand alongside the unidentified “White Lives Matter” group.

“Flagger” Mike Taylor wrote Tuesday: “We despise racists just as bad as we despise scalawag Yankees. … Those racists don’t hold the same values we do.”

Yet both hold the same flag.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.