Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.

In the controversies over the efficacy of flying the Confederate flag on government properties, we find ourselves at a crossroad–a crossroad made of stars and bars.

Crossroads are symbolic of sites of choice. Being at a crossroad puts one in a crisis. One must decide–this way, or that way?  This particular crisis will be painfully decided, but it will foster a deeper appreciation of the pitfalls the flag symbolically  portends when it is used as a roadmap to give directions toward a desirable future.  As Lincoln said, “If we could first know where we are and wither we are tending, we would better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We know that roadmaps enable us to see beyond the myriad crossroads, find our destination, and  choose a route that will best deliver us there.

If we consult history, we can see that the crisscrossed stars and bars are part of a roadmap showing us that no matter which direction we turn by its guidance, no matter which route we take in accord with its roadways, the destination is always the same: human suffering rooted in the buying and the selling of human beings and sacrificing to slaughter young men who had nothing to benefit from winning the war–nothing to benefit by preserving an institution that was beyond their means and did not serve their interest.

It’s time to fold up that map and put it away, or at the very least acknowledge its irrelevance as source of decision and direction.

To those bear a deep affection for the direction the flag has provided them through life, please remember that the crisscrossed stars and bars provide no route or passage to justice, peace, or the compassionate love of humanity that opens heaven’s gates.

  • Post your own antanagoge on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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