DETROIT (WWJ) – The Confederate flag flying on public buildings in Charleston, South Carolina, is causing controversy across the nation. After nine black people were gunned down in a church — allegedly by a white 21-year-old man who wanted to “start a race war” — some leaders believe the flag should be taken down for good.
One metro Detroit native who’s been known to sport T-shirts featuring the Confederate flag is “Motor City Madman” musician Ted Nugent.
But, he said, he wouldn’t raise the flag, or wear it, today.
The Confederate flag, Nugent told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell, did not in any way represent hate in his earlier days as a performer.
“Back when I would wear a Confederate flag on stage — along with an American flag and a POW flag and a ‘Don’t tread on me’ flag — I would be on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and there wasn’t a racist thought to be found,” Nugent said.
Nugent calls the alleged Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, a demon, a psycho and a terrorist — saying his horrific actions have nothing to do with whether the Confederate flag should fly.
The issue with the flag, Nugent said, is more about political correctness than anything else.
“This terrorist had nothing to do with a flag, or any symbolism. Certainly there are symbols that are reference to evil and evil doers,” he said. “I certainly wouldn’t authorize the raising of the Nazi flag, the swastika, anywhere that would, you know, destroy people’s psyche and break people’s hearts.”
Nugent said to some the flag is simply about the history of the south, and defended those who defend its continued display.
“I have to acknowledge — I think we all do — there’s an awful lot of information, an awful lot of people out there that believe the stars and bars, the Confederate flag, represents something heroic and something worth standing up for.”
“All my buddies in Lynyrd Skynyrd who wear the Confederate flag in their regalia on stage are heartbroken and they pray for the families in Charleston,” Nugent added.
Having said that, Nugent stressed he believes it’s time to get people talking and teach our children to respect one another — regardless of their race.