It's not just a "Northern POV." The Confederate flag doesn't encompass and an entire country over hundreds of years. It is a very specific time period - approximately 5 years during which time the states left the Union and formed their own alliance to defend their right to have slavery.
I understand the POV that the Confederate flag only stands for slavery, but that is a very Northern POV. I do not believe that most people here think of it that way. (Obviously I have not met and spoke to every single Southerner. Just speaking of the people I do know) It would be the equivalent of saying that because Americans acted shamefully with the forced internment camps for the Japanese Americans during WW2, that we should never again fly an American flag. The American flag stands for an entire country and years of history. Not just one aspect of that history. It is the same with the Confederate flag.
You're trying to trivialize the meaning of the flag. I can put a positive spin on the color red. I just can't do that with the Confederate flag. It represents a period of history that I can't be proud of.
I thought of this debate as I took my daughters to piano lessons today. I passed a few different Confederate flags. I do not believe their intent is to show anything other than Southern pride. Also, the piano lessons are in GA (We live right on the TN/GA line), and the Confederate flag and the State of GA flag are very similar to the first Confederate flag.
Now I will say that unfortunately there are also some truly racist people out there. That is a tragedy. I am sure that there are some of these people that do use the Confederate flag in a hateful way. They are not the majority though. A minority. I think another example would be a school banning anyone from wearing the color red because that was a local gang's colors. Wearing red is not inherently bad, but a few people put their twist on it and made it their symbol.