Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller threw his support behind a confederate group’s proposed design for specialty license plates to be sold in the Lone Star state.
The Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans proposed the design for the plate, which features a Confederate soldier carrying a Texas regiment’s special flag at a Civil War battle, Fox News reported.
Miller said on Monday that he saw nothing wrong with the design or the group’s plan to make the plates available to the public.
The Dallas News reported that Miller said he wasn’t too concerned about offending anyone with his decision.
“The Confederate flag is one of the six flags that flew over the state,” he said. There’s no profit in hiding our history and trying to rewrite history.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans has been involved in a legal battle regarding specialty plates that began more than a decade ago after the group sought state approval for a plate that bore its name along with an image of a Confederate flag.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles board rejected the design, claiming it was too divisive. In 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the rejection.
In March of this year, the nonprofit group submitted the new design, which did not include a Confederate flag. In fact, the design came from a portion of a painting by Fort Worth historical artist John Paul Strain, in which a Confederate soldier is carrying a Texas Wigfall Flag.
Miller told the group in a letter that the Department of Agriculture would sponsor the plate and direct money from sales back to the group, the News reported. Of the $30 collected for the plates, $22 generally goes back to the Department of Agriculture. However, Miller said that the department would give that money back to the group in the form of grants “for supporting charitable causes and related activities,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
The Chronicle also reported that the group claimed to have about 3,200 members in Texas when it submitted the plate for approval. The group estimated that approximately 1,000 of the plates would sell during the first year they became available.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans website claims that its motivations are not political. The group strives to “honor and keep alive the memory of the Confederacy and the principles for which Confederates fought, thus giving the world an understanding and appreciation of the Southern people and their brave history.”
That sentiment would explain why the group’s application for the plates included that fact that their purpose was to “remember and honor our Confederate ancestors” as well as make the plate available to those who are interested in the part Texas played in the war.
Agency spokesman Mark Loeffler told the Chronicle that Miller agreed to the design because it was substantially different than the first one — namely that the Confederate flag had been removed.
However, Miller has no problem with Confederate symbols that represent our country’s history. He has taken issue with the movement to remove Confederate monuments from public places.
“Commissioner Miller strongly believes that Texans benefit from learning about all our history and not hiding or ignoring parts that might now be considered offensive,” Loeffler said.
In fact, last August Miller took issue with amusement park Six Flags over Texas in Arlington after it decided to take down the Confederate flag, along with four other flags. In a Facebook post, Miller said that by removing the flags, the park was looking upon them with “shame and dismay.”
“I contend that Texas history is rich and colorful, while at the same time complicated and troubled, but when looked at in its totality, never shameful!” the post said.
He added that the bringing down of the flags, as well as the removal of historical monuments across the country, was an act to appease “the intolerant, liberal, and oftentimes violent left who strive to establish a false narrative where our state’s and nation’s history is one dimensional.”
Many conservatives would agree with Miller that simply because our country’s history is not perfect is no reason that it should be erased. As the adage goes, Americans should remember the past so they are not doomed to relive it.
Some Democrats apparently disagree.
The Chronicle reported that Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said the group’s proposal was “tone-deaf.”
Kim Olson, a Democrat who is running against Miller for the Texas Agriculture Commissioner seat this November, said the agency should focus on agricultural issues instead of “sponsoring Confederate license plates,” according to the Chronicle.
Most conservatives agree that anyone making a fuss over the design on this plate fails to understand the mission of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Adam Shaivitz told the News on Monday that the plate would be considered at the next DMV board meeting, which is scheduled for December.