Let’s start this by being honest. I do not understand how someone who considers themselves a patriot can claim the Confederacy is part of their heritage. I’ll explain why, to me the two are mutually exclusive. The Confederate army and militias were filled with men who had renounced the authority of the United States government along with their US citizen. They specifically said they were not patriots, they were confederates.
They then started a war that killed 600,000+ US patriots and CSA confederates. Amazingly, the United States did not do what most countries who have just experienced a civil war has done in the past. They were magnanimous, which is crazy to say, but they were. Normally, at the end of a civil war, the winners round up all the losers and the supporters of the losers and executes them. This did not happen in the US, instead the Confederates were given back their full rights as US citizens – they were pardoned and repatriated.
To me the Confederate flag and Confederate statues are no different than statues of Stalin and Lenin, enemies of the government. The difference being that the Russian Revolution did managed to overthrow the government they were fighting against and the CSA didn’t.
Furthermore, the war was not over States rights, it was over an unwillingness to change. Those that supported the confederacy did so, because they did not want to give up an economic system that relied upon oppression and slavery. Confederates believed that removing slavery would cause an economic depression that couldn’t be recovered from by them. Which I find even stranger, because farmers in the rest of the country were doing just fine without slave labor.
To me, claiming a confederate heritage means you identify not as a patriot (someone who supports the US government which remains in power), but as a confederate and confederates are enemies of the state that have been pardoned because the US allows citizens the freedom to disagree with it. And because confederates were willing to go to war to ensure they kept an economy that relied upon oppression and slavery.
Which is why, I don’t understand why any modern US citizen would claim the Confederacy was part of their heritage and be proud of it. It is no different in my opinion than being a supporter of the Soviet Union in 1950s America (they are both enemies of the state who wanted to overthrow the government and install their own and just as importantly, they were both American citizens when the plotting began).