Confederate Clodfelter flies his Confederate flag (updated)

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that Legislative District 10 Republican Rep. Todd Clodfelter is proud to fly his Confederate battle flag on his personal computer at the state legislature, and is proud of his Southern ancestry.

The Confederate battle flag, which became popular as a symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement of the 20th century, is a symbol of defending slavery, state sanctioned segregation, white supremacy and institutional violence against African-Americans. If Rep. Clodfelter does not understand this history and is insensitive to how offensive this symbol is to African-Americans, he is an idiot. Pair of lawmakers at odds over display of confederate flag on laptop:

After saying he would not remove the Confederate flag image displayed on his laptop in the Arizona House, Rep. Todd Clodfelter, R-Tucson, said he’ll leave the computer at home instead [with Confederate flag intact].

The Tucson Republican’s 180-degree turn came one day after Rep. Geraldine Peten, D-Goodyear, expressed concerns that she could clearly see the flag from her desk, located one row behind Clodfelter’s seat, during a mandatory harassment and ethics training session at the House of Representatives Jan. 9.

ClodfelterPicture of Rep. Todd Clodfelter’s confederate flag screen saver, posted on Facebook by Rep. Geraldine Peten.

“To me it’s intimidating,” she told her colleagues. “It creates a hostile work environment.”

Rep. Geraldine Peten is correct. Under the new guidelines being adopted by the legislature to come into compliance with the Arizona Civil Rights Act to deal with complaints filed against members of the legislature — arising out of the sexual harassment claims against Rep. Don Shooter — Rep. Peten would be within her rights to file a complaint for a racially hostile work environment over this incident. It would appear that this “mandatory harassment and ethics training” needs some work.

Peten, one of only two African American legislators in Arizona, initially didn’t identify on whose desk she saw the flag, but later told the Arizona Capitol Times it was Clodfelter’s.

Clodfelter initially said the flag — displayed on his personal laptop, he noted, not his state-issued computer — wasn’t going away, and the two lawmakers would have to “agree to disagree.”

“We need to talk more, and we’ve already had a brief discussion and I understand her position, but I also have my position, too,” Clodfelter said Jan. 9. “All my family and ancestry is from the South. And my perspective of the imagery of that particular flag is not the same as hers. So from my perspective, it’s acceptable. From hers, it’s offensive.”

Peten told the Capitol Times that after confronting Clodfelter Jan. 10 and asking him to take down the image, he ensured her she wouldn’t see it again.

The image, Peten said, was “in direct contrast to the training yesterday.”

“If we’re to honor the training we received … that flag has no place here, or anywhere for that matter, but specifically not in the public space,” she said.

Clodfelter clarified that he was only using his personal laptop to finish some “personal business,” but would no longer bring that laptop to the floor and would instead use his state-issued computer. He stood by his argument that the image has different meanings for each of them.

“We obviously have some different opinions but after our conversation today we can work together to learn more about each other … rather than being at odds over an image that she perceives one way and I perceive another,” he said.

“Arizona has grappled with Confederate symbols in recent months. Activists have called on Gov. Doug Ducey to take action to remove Confederate monuments from state property following a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

‘Gov. Ducey has resisted, and said he has no interest in removing Confederate monuments from Arizona property.”

There is a Legislative District 10 town hall scheduled for Saturday, January 20, 10:00 a.m., at (new location) the Miller Golf Links Library, 9640 E Golf links Road, Tucson. State Senator David Bradley and Reps. Kirsten Engel and Todd Clodfelter are scheduled to appear to give a legislative session preview followed by Q & A from constituents. Show up and give Confederate Clodfelter a piece of your mind.

UPDATE: Tim Steller at The Arizona Daily Star updates:

Rep. Todd Clodfelter explained to me Thursday night he continues to have a favorable view of the Southern cause in the Civil War.

To him, the flag “represents sovereignty and freedom and revolution toward tyranny.”

But honestly, it’s probably too late for him. The Democrats have already criticized him for displaying a racist symbol. And I can imagine a “Confederate Clodfelter” label will be attached to him in the coming campaign, making a difficult re-election bid nearly impossible.

You got that right!

Rep. Clodfelter subscribes to the revisionist history of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy that calls the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression and views  the Confederate cause as a heroic struggle for the Southern way of life while minimizing or denying the central role of slavery. The Lost Cause belief system argues that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War. The Lost Cause belief system stresses the idea of secession as a defense against a Northern threat to their way of life and says that the threat violated the states’ rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They believe any state has the right to secede.

The Lost Cause belief system portrays the South as more profoundly Christian than the greedy North. It portrayed the slavery system as more benevolent than cruel, emphasizing that it taught Christianity and civilization. Stories of “happy slaves” were often used as propaganda in an effort to defend slavery. Many times they also portrayed slave owners being kind to their slaves.

In recent decades Lost Cause themes have been widely promoted by the Neo-Confederate movement in books and op-eds, and especially in one of the movement’s magazines, the Southern Partisan.

14 responses to “Confederate Clodfelter flies his Confederate flag (updated)

  1. Now that Martha McSally is not going to run for re-election in CD2, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Confederate Clodfelter throws his hat in the ring.

    I strongly suspect he’s thinking about it.

  2. Her pay seems to be in alignment with other “Deputy” House chiefs. In fact, it is 3K above the median (scroll down to see chart).

  3. Off topic but maybe not…

    Opinion | OP-ED COLUMNIST
    ‘The Lowest White Man’
    Charles M. Blow JAN. 11, 2018

    Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy.

    It is the belief that even the least qualified man is a better choice than the most qualified woman and a belief that the most vile, anti-intellectual, scandal-plagued simpleton of a white man is sufficient to follow in the presidential footsteps of the best educated, most eloquent, most affable black man.

    As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

    Trump’s supporters are saying to us, screaming to us, that although he may be the “lowest white man,” he is still better than Barack Obama, the “best colored man.”

    In a way, Donald Trump represents white people’s right to be wrong and still be right. He is the embodiment of the unassailability of white power and white privilege.

    To abandon him is to give up on the pact that America has made with its white citizens from the beginning: The government will help to underwrite white safety and success, even at the expense of other people in this country, whether they be Native Americans, African-Americans or new immigrants.

    But this idea of elevating the lowest white man over those more qualified or deserving didn’t begin with Johnson’s articulation and won’t end with Trump’s manifestation. This is woven into the fabric of the flag.

    As I have written here before, when Alabama called a constitutional convention in 1901, Emmet O’Neal, who later became governor, argued that the state should “lay deep and strong and permanent in the fundamental law of the state the foundation of white supremacy forever in Alabama,” and as part of that strategy he argued:

    “I don’t believe it is good policy to go up in the hills and tell them that Booker Washington or Councill or anybody else is allowed to vote because they are educated. The minute you do that every white man who is not educated is disfranchised on the same proposition.”

    In his essay “Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880,” W.E.B. Du Bois discussed why poor whites didn’t make common cause with poor blacks and slaves but instead prized their roles as overseers and slave catchers, eagerly joining the Klan. This fed the white man’s “vanity because it associated him with the masters,” Du Bois wrote.

    He continued:

    “Slavery bred in the poor white a dislike of Negro toil of all sorts. He never regarded himself as a laborer, or as part of any labor movement. If he had any ambition at all it was to become a planter and to own ‘niggers.’ To these Negroes he transferred all the dislike and hatred which he had for the whole slave system. The result was that the system was held stable and intact by the poor white.”

    For white supremacy to be made perfect, the lowest white man must be exalted above those who are black.

    No matter how much of an embarrassment and a failure Trump proves to be, his exploits must be judged a success. He must be deemed a correction to Barack Obama and a superior choice to Hillary Clinton. White supremacy demands it. Patriarchy demands it. Trump’s supporters demand it.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/opinion/trump-immigration-white-supremacy.html

    • For Sure Not Tom

      If you spend any time on the right wing websites and read the comments you’ll see that everything Charles Blow has written is exactly right.

      And if you spend any time listening to AM hate radio or watching Fox News, you’ll see a lot of millionaires telling poor white people that all their problems are because of brown skinned people.

      It’s where the right wing meme of “cuck-servative” comes from. Cuckold porn where a black man dominates a white man by having sex with his wife.

      It’s their ultimate fear, being “less than” a black man, and Obama, a black man, was leading America, and doing an undeniably better job than Bush, a white man.

      That’s some pretty twisted stuff, the backroom of the Trump voter’s mind is not a place I’d ever want to visit.

      And all the while the people telling them to fear brown skinned people pick up their multi-million dollar paychecks and give speeches for the Koch brothers and laugh at the rubes in the GOP base, who vote out of fear.

      Sometimes I feel bad for Trump voters, they don’t know any better, and they’re being conned.

      Then other times I think, f-them, racist freaks.

      • Yeah, I grew up with this. Deep South culture was just drenched in it, and (white) people were very open about their beliefs because it was acceptable to most whites.

        What happened during the latter part of the civil rights movement was that it became unacceptable for white people to speak so freely, certainly among my generation.

        But the beliefs are still there, apparently being passed down through generations in ways that are difficult for me to imagine. I say this because the efforts made to teach young people about equality have been magnanimous and surely must exceed the opposing efforts to indoctrinate white children in white supremacy. Good Lord, where does this come from?

        Adults who willingly embrace the dog whistles and hate speech on Fox, conservative talk radio and websites, etc…already share the same fundamental beliefs. And, yeah, those folks are being played, and it’s unfortunate (for us) that they are so vulnerable and so easy to manipulate.

        But the message is powerful. It gives people a reason for their own failures (perceived or otherwise) that is not related to anything they had control over. And that’s what they want. Self-inflicted failure is a heavy burden.

        Black success is a major threat to white supremacy, it always has been. And the efforts to suppress and contain it have never ceased.

        I just hope to God that Trump is their last gasp. I don’t expect to ever to see a post-racial society in this country. That was a pipe dream. I only hope for equality enforced by law and supported by a majority of the citizens. Whatever lurks in the hearts and minds of people really is out of our control. All we can really aim for is a society where most of the racists will make a choice to keep it to themselves.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          If it helps, I grew up in Ohio, then spent some time just outside of Boston.

          Ohio in general, and Boston in particular, could give the South a run for their confederate money on the racism front any day.

          Millennials are about to become the biggest voting generation ever, passing even us Boomers, and they care little for hardcore capitalism, hate racism, care about equal rights, care much for the planet, and they all have LGBTQ friends.

          This is a big part of the reason the GOP looks the other way with Trump, their base is aging out (aka dying off), they’re desperate to undo the New Deal while they have the controls, because the next generation is going to kick their ass.

  4. For Sure Not Tom

    Todd Clodfelter failed the 2016 Political Courage Test.

    https://votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/141374/todd-clodfelter/

    “Todd Clodfelter has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads.”

    Todd Clodfelter hates America and is afraid of Americans.

  5. For Sure Not Tom

    “The U.S. state of Texas declared its secession from the United States of America on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States on March 2, 1861.”

    So Todd Clodfelter hates America and wants everyone to know it.

    Good to know.

  6. This is Clodfelter’s daughter, Martha McSally’s deputy chief of staff.

    http://congressional-staff.insidegov.com/l/46908/Kristen-K-Douglas

    • Just a fun fact.

      • This is interesting. It says Clodfelter’s daughter is the chief of staff for Congresswomen McSally AND she is paid ~$25,000 LESS than the median for Congressional chiefs of staff.

        Interesting… what about equal pay for equal work? What about pay equity? When I asked Rep. Clodfelter if he would sign the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bill, I reminded him that he has a daughter. He still refused to sign.

        McSally says she fights for women, but she also has not backed ratification of the ERA. What’s up with that?

        • Her pay seems to be in alignment with other “Deputy” House chiefs. In fact, it is 3K above the median (scroll down to see chart).

  7. Carolyn Classen

    Ask Rep. Clodfelter about this issue at the upcoming LD 10 Town Hall on Jan. 20: https://blogforarizona.net/event/ld-10-town-hall-6/?instance_id=6681