Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Time To Remove The Stars And Bars From Government Buildings

Yesterday, the South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, a Republican, officially called for the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia, also known as the Stars and Bars to be removed from the capitol grounds in Columbia. 
And only someone of Gov. Haley's stature could call for such a move. And it more than likely be passed by the 2/3rds votes necessary in the legislature. But not without strong opposition from hangers-on to the tradition that had been in place since 1961.
And throw in GOP senator Tim Scott as another reason the move will probably be easier to do than at any other time heretofore.
As an aside, Sen. Scott and Sen. Goober Graham ran for election last year. Sen. Goober won his race with 55% of the vote and 665,605 votes. Sen Scott, who is black, won with 61% of the vote and 749,266 votes. Sen. Scott had about 83,700 more votes than the senior senator, Sen. Goober. And it should be noted that Gov. Haley is Indian-American.
In other words, in a very Southern state that has elected a black and Indian-American could the move be made to move the Stars and Bars to a state museum and off of the capitol grounds with little opposition.
It helps to have had a serious event to make this move.
The tragic massacre at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church last Wednesday stirred a great deal of emotion. And the left, as it is won't to do, did  not let a crisis go to waste. Collectively through the usual suspects, they used the occasion to call for the removal of the Stars and Bars from a Confederate war memorial on the capitol grounds.

Until 2000, the above flag was with the other flags atop the capitol flag pole. In a compromise, the Stars and Bars were moved to aforementioned war memorial but still on the capitol grounds.
Why was it put there in the first place?
It was put there in 1961 during the governorship of Democrat Ernest "Fritz" Hollings and it was done to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. But over time, like throughout much of the South during the 1960s and beyond, the Stars and Bars were seen as a sign of resistance against an intrusive federal government and supreme court. Rightly or wrongly, it has been seen by some as a flag of oppression and a defense of slavery. On the other side it has been seen as an honor to those who fought bravely, albeit for a lost cause.
And in reality, both sides can be and are right.
Mrs. RVFTLC, the late Scout the Wonder Dog and I visited the state capitol in Columbia on our epic 2009 Tour of the South. Seeing the Stars and Bars did evoke both of the above emotions. The compromise that moved the flag from the actual capitol flag pole to the Confederate war memorial seemed appropriate at the time.
But we are in a changing nation.
And one thing is that this state, South Carolina, where the War Between The States began, has changed dramatically.
Because they freely elected Gov. Haley and Sen. Scott, they can lead the effort to remove the flag from the capitol grounds and see it put in a place of honor and or history in the state museum.
If a white politician tried this as short a time as 15 years ago, that would end their political career in South Carolina.
Even today there are people that will say that Gov. Haley and Sen. Scott bowed to pressure but has anyone given one moment to think that the time was right? That maybe it is not proper for government to be flying a symbol that emotes a helluva lot of emotion. But that support I believe has waned as South Carolina has seen a lot of people move in from other parts of the United States. The South as a whole has seen more people from out of the region move there for many reasons. Many  of these people have no skin in the game about the whole Stars and Bars.
We cannot and should not try to wipe this part of American  history clean because we cannot. After all, we fought a civil war over, among other things, economics and slavery and the holding of the United States together. Remember, the Union won the war. Some people seem to forget this. They can fly a flag all they want but it is still the UNITED STATES of America. There is no Confederate States of America. We have to have a real teaching of history and that includes all the flags used by the rebel states. Without approval or disapproval.
But the time, the time is right to take such banners as the Stars and Bars and not flying over government buildings. Gov. Haley is the perfect South Carolinian to make this call.

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