Although South Carolina yielded and elected to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds last week, the Pentagon, contrarily, dug in and refused to rename major military bases, currently named after Confederate generals. The bewildering stance gives a probable insight into the indifference in the upper echelons of the Pentagon to the growing need to expunge such symbols from society, and the bitterness and offense they stoke.
Southern pride and heritage
It is possible to understand, on some distant level, that many individual advocates of the flag and other symbols do so out of a sense of heritage and pride of lineage, military heroism or cultural identity, rather than outright racism. State advocacy of such symbols, however, is inexcusable. From a State or nation's perspective, it's impossible to separate the deeply racist connotations from the benignly cultural ones. A State or the military cannot stand for, or even marginally support, a symbol so deeply representative of racism, repression and secessionist action that has left scars that still rankle on the psyche of a large section of the population. Imagine flags bearing swastikas in German military bases.
Alternatives and consensus
Such controversial artifacts, or names, should never be adopted by entities such as a State or the military unless there is overwhelming consensus among the populace for it, or alternatively, if it could be suitably modified to remove its offensive aspects. For instance, a design modification indicating the end of slavery with inclusive imagery. There may also be alternative symbols that are entirely devoid of controversy.