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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Heritage, History ... and Hate?

Fly it over your own house; just
don't fly it over the statehouse.
I live 10 minutes away from South Carolina. The grief, confusion and anger over the nine people who lost their lives in Charleston is real. While we wait to see how this saga plays out, it has reopened the discussion of removing the Confederate flag from flying atop the South Carolina statehouse. I believe it is time to take it down.

Proponents of the flag cite ‘heritage’ as a reason it should continue to fly. They say, it isn’t even the Confederate flag. It is a battle flag flown by Confederate troops in Northern Virginia. I’m not going to dispute the history of the battle flag.

However, since that time, it has been appropriated by racists and Klansmen. It has been draped over lynching victims and used to terrorize Black people. For many South Carolinian and black people nationwide, the heritage it represents is one of hate, intolerance and violence.

With so many constituents offended by it, it should not be flown over a government building. Sell it in stores (I think Walmart, Sears and eBay should continue selling it). If it represents Southern heritage, then fly it proudly on your cars, over your home or even your churches, just don’t fly something so divisive over the statehouse. It is a slap in the face to a large portion of South Carolinian.

Here is the thing. Symbols change over time.

For centuries, the emblem known as a swastika was a symbol of prosperity for several Eastern religions. It was a positive symbol. Then Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party got a hold of it. And now? No one really cares about the heritage of that flag anymore. In Western society, it is synonymous with hate and Antisemitism.

I am not equating Confederate flag wavers with Nazis. I make the comparison to show that for a significant number of people a symbol of heritage has come to stand for something else – something darker, more sinister and even deadly.

Out of compassion, out of empathy, out of love, it should go.

NOTE: This topic comes with strong emotions. Notice, I did not insult or curse when stating my opinion. If you plan on stating yours, please show the same respect.

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