Tyler Johnson

When I think about a word to describe how this year has gone, all I can think of is the word “interesting.”

It’s been an interesting year. We’ve been going through a pandemic for most of it. We’ve been dealing with racial injustices that have caused worldwide protests and riots in the streets. There was even a new country or area created in Seattle called “CHAZ” or “CHOP,” but that didn’t work out well.

And on top of all of those things, it’s an election year. It’s funny how that happens.

It’s definitely been one for the history books. When kids are being taught about this year 30 years from now, it’ll be interesting to see how it’s portrayed.

Last weekend, we celebrated our nation’s 244th Independence Day and in the words of one of my favorite Texans and actor Matthew McConaughey: “We going through some growing pains in this one.”

But I’m genuinely confused by something I’ve seen recently.

Every morning, I go for a run. It’s my time to get away from the grind of the everyday life and the world we’re living in today.

However, I’ve noticed something that sort of rubs me in a wrong way.

I see people driving around with the Confederate flag on their trucks.

Like, seriously?

Now, I’m not going to stomp on your freedom. It’s your right to say and do whatever you want. That’s what makes this nation so great.

But flying a Confederate flag ... in Wyoming?

I’m not a history expert, but I paid attention enough to know that Wyoming wasn’t even a state during the Civil War.

It was hardly a territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

But I did some brief research to see what exactly the territory’s role was in the Civil War.

What I learned wasn’t much. Troops were sent to the territory to protect it from the Native Americans, who have already been living here for hundreds of years. So, there wasn’t much of a role during the Civil War in my opinion.

I’m not a geography expert either, but I do know Wyoming isn’t in the south.

It’s not even close.

Being from Texas, I can sort of, kind of understand why there are some people down there who are trying to protect the Confederate flag. I’m against it personally, but at least I can see reasoning behind it – even if there isn’t much.

But here? I just don’t understand.

The city of Rock Springs calls itself the “Home of 56 Nationalities.”

This always made me chuckle because I see a lot of Anglos up here for the most part. But I come from one of the most diverse cities in the world, and I still have a lot to learn about this state and this city so perhaps there’s more to it than I know.

But if this truly is the “Home of 56 Nationalities,” why are some of its residents flying a flag that has been historically known to divide us? The Confederate states broke away from the United States. It wasn’t the other way around.

I’ve seen one vehicle flying the United States flag and Confederate flag simultaneously, which makes no sense to me. It’s your right. I get that. I support your freedom to do whatever you want. However, I believe the two flags cancel each other out.

One stands for unity and the other does not.

In a week that is supposed to celebrate our nation’s independence and unity, why are there some people also celebrating divisiveness?

Look. I should make it known that I do not support the tearing down of statues. They can be a lesson of history to teach future generations of what to do and what not to do so history doesn’t repeat itself.

I, for one, have never paid much attention to statues and sort of looked at them as a final resting place for bird poop. But that’s just me.

I do think it’s interesting that people – especially here in Wyoming and the “Home of 56 Nationalities” city – still fly the Confederate flag.

What point are you trying to prove? What are you hoping to accomplish?

Even Mississippi is beginning the process to remove the Confederate flag from its state flag, and that was a state that actually fought in the Confederate army during the Civil War.

This is a great state. I’ve enjoyed my time here tremendously – for the most part.

But this just doesn’t make any sense to me.

When so much is going on in our country right now, is it really that hard to stay unified?

The Confederate flag should not be removed from the history books.

It does need to be removed from your truck.

Fly one flag. Fly the American flag.

It’s 2020. Time for us grow up.

Tyler Johnson is a sports reporter for the Rocket Miner Newspaper. Contact him via email at tjohnson@rocketminer.com and follow him on Twitter @iamtylerjohnson.

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