Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
I held off writing this post as the events of this historic day have washed over me repeatedly. There are a lot of things I could say about the removal of the Confederate battle flag (CBF) from the grounds of the South Carolina capital grounds and most would be derogatory and highly snarky even for me. However, this is a historic day and it deserves a little bit better explanation of what has passed that makes it historic. With that in mind, let us explore today's events.
A little history first: Back in the era of Civil Rights when the black citizens of this nation were battling back against a century of oppression and tyranny inflicted upon them by the white citizens of the same nation, government power was held in the hands of some people that refused to accept the fact that the world was changing. They sought to defy any orders or laws that would require them to treat black men and women as equals let alone fellow human beings.
These people chose a symbol from the past to represent their feelings on these matters. That symbol was the CBF which had been used as a symbol of racism long before that. In fact, the symbol itself was the battle flag of armies which fought in the Civil War to preserve racial inequality and black chattel slavery. This is basic American history and can be found in most history books outside of the state of Texas where liars like David Barton seek to distort history to reflect their fantasies of a past that has never happened.
Throughout the southern states of this nation, variations of the CBF appeared in state flags or were brazenly flown from flagpoles in defiance of federal authority. Now, here is where the facts must be explained. The federal authority was not an issue UNTIL that authority meant giving black Americans equal rights including voting rights. All that talk about "All men are created equal" didn't mean jack to many whites in the south. They preferred white supremacy. Fortunately, most of those people have passed away or changed their views. Some refuse to do so.
One of them was Dylan Roof. Inspired by members of the Concerned Citizen's Council, a white supremacist group and symbols of the confederacy such as the CBF, Roof launched a terror attack on America when he killed nine men and women in South Carolina this year. Instead of starting a race war, Roof did the very opposite. His actions caused Americans to pause and take a long hard look at the issue of race in this country. The result was transformative.
In what may be one of the biggest changes of public opinion in recent memory, Americans of all ages, colors, creeds, political ideology, and religions rejected Roof's beliefs. Collectively these men and women made a conscious and deliberate decision to reject racism. Roof's terrorist attack shocked them and they sought common ground together as fellow human beings. In the process, they looked at the CBF with new eyes and were repulsed by what it represented. As a body, the American people turned their backs on this symbol and what it has stood for since it was created.
On July 8th, 2015 a descendant of Jefferson Davis, only president of the Confederate States of America, made a passionate and tearful speech on the floor of the South Carolina House of Representative. Jenny Horne, a Republican and Davis descendant, delivered an emotional speech damning Confederate heritage and those that ignore the racism associated with it. The House voted to remove the flag in a landslide vote.
Today, July 10th, 2015 the flag came down and was sent to the Relic Room. It was high time it came down. It was created as the result of an attempt by people to preserve slavery. It was flown in the 20th century by people who rejected the idea of equality. It was flown to preserve racism. This is the 21st century. Racism has no place in this nation and this time. Those that want to be racist will still fly their symbol, but their time is passing.
For those of you who may insist that this flag is not a symbol of racism, you can read Bruce Levine's article here: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/confederate-flag-always-racist-119481.html#.VaCKc_mnQxB.