Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Change is Going to Come in SC

The announcement by SC Governor Nikki Haley, flanked by US Senators Scott and Graham, and backed by RNC chair Reince Priebus, that the Confederate flag should no longer be flown at the State Capitol, was a decision that was some time in coming, but I think it's only right. And I know some might detract from that decision saying it only came about because of the tragic loss of life that just recently happened, but I would say that it happens at all is meaningful.

This comes shortly after a decision by SCOTUS that the state of Texas could not be obliged to have that particular symbol on their license plates. It was followed by an announcement by Walmart that they would cease to sell any Confederate-flag related merchandise, and a statement from a Mississippi legislator that their state should consider also removing that symbol.

It has never seemed right to me that this particular flag has come to symbolize the South, in the sense that it has been flown in states where, for African Americans and for white people who haven't any drop of racial animus, it represents their state even if it doesn't represent their views at all, and enables the lazy assumption that Confederate dead-enders is what those states were about. It's been a symbol that divided us unnecessarily in these United States, and in my snotty-ass Yankee way, I'm going to admit I wouldn't be sad to see it go. Other people may have their ideas about what it represents to them, but to too many people, it does say "Treason in defense of slavery." And the very best intentions of those flying those colors can't overcome that this is how that symbol is read.

That this flag has been handled by racist fuckwits in white hoods or camo shouldn't carry a backwash of hateful associations on a geographical area. I don't feel it has been representative of most people, and that's the problem. And I think reticence to pull it down has been a deference to a notion that might not even be as popular regarding that dear Old Dixie as we've come to believe, particularly from "outsiders". Maybe it just took the right timing for people to exhale and let that symbol go. But it never was my flag, so I can't say that with the greatest assurance--

Although I will link to one of my dead and dearest authors a moment to cite his gripe with the Confederate flag and 2008 Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. Because this is the kind of cheap appeal to an idea of "the base" that I think has been wrong and too long in getting fixed.

It bothers me that an appeal to racism is considered an appeal to conservatism. I don't know that we should be considering those things intertwined, and I appreciate that not all conservatives stand for that--I just applaud moments like this when they visibly stand against it instead of reinforcing that "should've died with Atwater" southern strategy stuff.

2 comments:

Formerly Amhert said...

Hi Vixen, a Democrat (Friitz Hollings) put the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina statehouse in 1962, and now a Republican governor is taking it down.

It is ironic for many of us who were in the civil rights struggle to remember that basically it was a struggle against Democrats. When we were out in the streets, we were not fighting against Republicans, because the South was completely dominated by Democrats who believed in segregation.

By this move Nikki Haley has elevated herself in the political process to be a plumb vice president possibility.

Actually, in South Carolina as you could see from the outpouring of sympathy from every race, there is not a lot of racism now. This symbolic gesture with the flag will not accomplish much, but it will make some people feel good for a little while.

Vixen Strangely said...

One of the most peculiar things for generation x-ers like myself to grasp is that the actual states' rights "heavies" of the end-days of segregation were folks like Orval Faubus and George Wallace--in some respects "New Deal" Democratic populists, but old school regarding maintaining the proprieties of genteel southern living (as I imagine "defending a racist way of life" probably sounded in their heads). The later polarization of the parties makes this sort of thing unthinkable for people growing up in the 90's because each party seemed to be gripped by its end-poles--Liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats became increasingly rare bears. I guess Zell Miller might've been our last paleo-Democrat, and I am not even sure what a liberal Republican looks like in the wild. One of the people most regularly brought up as representing the Democratic party's racist past is Senator Byrd, although his career was so long and varied it's hard to define him by any one thing, especially race relations. I will say he struck me as a truly civil libertarian once you got down to it.

This was one time when Gov. Haley really distinguished herself by making a positive stand--I know it's window-dressing, and doesn't cut to the heart of some of our real contentious racial issues, but that little bit of good will won't be discounted. And she's young enough to start political waves for some time to come (regardless of party, I kind of like seeing women politicians get themselves out there--we will get a "Madam President" in the next couple cycles, I am sure of it.)