Daytona offer: Turn in your offensive flag, fans

We’ve had gun exchange programs, cities trying to get weapons off the street by offering gift cards, money, tickets for gats. They have made not a dent.

We’ve had needle exchange programs, to get the dirty ones out of circulation.

Now the latest effort at cleaning up a societal sore, just in from the capital city of NASCAR racing, Daytona: A Confederate battle flag exchange program.

Honest. This is real, not an Onion parody.

Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood announced Tuesday that the track, site of this weekend’s Coke Zero 400, will offer fans the chance to turn in their Confederate battle flags for nice, new U.S. flags.

Efforts to do something like that in 1861 met with stunning failure. Remains to be seen how that will play in more enlightened times.

Chitwood left open the possibility one day of banning the symbol from his property – try to imagine the difficulty of track police taking those down from campers or confiscating the “Forget Hell” t-shirt off a fan’s back. In the short term, in light of the tide of opposition to the Confederate flag after the Charleston shootings, there’s the offer of a civil exchange of one antiquated, divisive symbol for the one being honored on July 4th.

"For us, we're celebrating the American flag this weekend,” Chitwood said Tuesday.

“Going forward, we'll really have to look at where that other flag goes, because it doesn't have a place in our sport and we've got to take a thoughtful process on how we get to that place."

It’s just getting harder and harder to be an offensive anachronism.