Since some evil, deranged man who shall remain nameless killed a bunch of African Americans in their church in Charleston, including Clementa Pinckney, the youngest African American elected state senator in SC history, also a minister at the church, then promoted his racist agenda draped in Confederate Battle Flags (henceforth CBF’s for simplicity), the nation is once again draped in debate over that “symbol.”
Not satisfied with the State’s switch justice, and people rallying for Christian forgiveness and peace in awe of how the folks at Mother Emmanuel AME church demonstrated their faith immediately following the catastrophe, the media and the Feds needed controversy. So they started talking about the “Confederate Flag on the State House,” making it sound like the flag was still on the roof of the state house, as it is clear many people who initially commented thought it still was.
No, the flag was taken off the state house dome (more on that later) 15 years ago, when the aforementioned Senator Pinckney, a Democrat, then in his first term, voted in favor of taking it down from the dome and putting it in a Confederate memorial. A memorial was also built to African American heritage (more on *that* later.
Trying to shut up the media, keep the feds out, and keep riots from happening, Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, the first minority female governor in our state’s history–whom some racist liberal on Twitter referred to as a “Dot head pretending to be white” (racism being acceptable if one is a liberal and the target is conservative, even if the racist is both racist and ignorant, since the family of Gov. Haley, an Indian-American, is Sikh, not Hindu), again showed leadership by calling for the flag’s complete removal from the state house grounds.
The media twisted this, inciting rage from Democrats who called her a phony and said it was an empty gesture, and Republicans who called her a traitor and a sell-out and a wimp. To the latter, I would suggest reading Russell Kirk, who would have likely said something like Haley was showing herself a true conservative by letting principles guide her, not ideology.
There are many issues tied up in the Confederacy and that flag in particular, and without any particular ranking or weight, I want to point out some of the things people seem to ignore on one side or the other.
First, the complaint about removing it seems to be that it’s dishonoring the “Confederate heritage,” or history, or some such. The official site has a virtual tour/map of the grounds and all the monuments (click here). Of 31 monuments identified:
1 monument to fallen confederate soldiers
2 monuments to George Washington, and 1 monument to honor trees that died that were originally planted to honor Washington
1 monument to the *streets* in Columbia named for Revolutionary generals, and another monument to the generals, with a third to the liberty bell, a specific tribute to Gen. Richard Richardson, and a grave of a Revolutionary War officer who owned the land the State House was built on, and was buried there.
3 monuments to the Spanish American War
1 monument to James F. Byrnes, an SC politician and US Supreme Court Justice who was an apostate ex-Catholic and a highly anti-Catholic politician
1 monument to the 1986 time capsule
1 to Robert E Lee, specifically, and 1 *monument* to “Robert E. Lee Highway (US 1),” which has the Seal of the Confederacy on it.
1 monument to the original state house, burned by Sherman
1 “African American” Monument
1 to Wade Hampton
1 to Confederate Women
1 monument to mid-20th century SC Gov. Robert McNair
1 monument to Strom Thurmond
Markers for where the State House was shelled in the Civil War
1 monument for SC Law Enforcement Officers who fell in the line of duty
1 monument, the oldest on the grounds, to the SC Veterans of the Mexican War.
1 monument to all US Veterans from SC
1 monument to a highway itself honoring all US Veterans
1 monument to former Gov. and US Senator Benjamin Tillman
1 monument to J. Marion Sims, the “founder of gynecology,” a monster comparable to Josef Mengele who stuied women’s anatomy by experimenting on female slaves with no anesthesia, etc..
So, on the one hand, if one wants to waste the time and energy and money to complain about monuments to genuinely bad people, there are a few on the list that should take priority. On the other hand, if one wants to complain that taking down one piece of controversial cloth will somehow detract from memorializing “Southern heritage,” I think they have that covered. Yet again, if they want to say that the SC State House is all about the Confederacy, they have plenty of monuments to the Revolution, other wars, US veterans, and SC politicians who have had national reputations.
What about the “Confederacy”?
1) it lasted for 5 years, all of them at war.
2) Throughout the War Between the States, South Carolina called itself the “Palmetto Republic,” in spite of Pettigru’s famous comment that SC was “too small for a Republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Many in SC did not like how Richmond was trying to make Union 2.0 and planned to re-secede if the CSA won.
3) It is admittedly difficult to separate the motive of States’ Rights from the motive of slavery, but not impossible, and there is plenty of genuine evidence for that being exactly the position of many Confederate leaders
4) History is always about perspective, usually the winners’. Honoring “heritage” usually means remembering the good and filtering out the bad. What should matter is learning from history to help be more virtuous individuals, and to help build a more virtuous society. Personally, I’d rather honor Saints than soldiers and politicians, but that’s just me.
5) Flannery O’Connor, Russell Kirk, Sheldon Vanauken and others saw kinship between the nobility, manners, morals and tradition embodied by the ideal of “The South” and Catholicism. Vanauken said he drove around with a Confederate Battle Flag painted on his car, with the words, “Civil Rights in the CSA” written over it.
6) Paradoxically, those who insist the “South” is not about “racism” may focus on genteel nobility, or they emphasize “redneck” quintessentially American anti-authoritarianism.
So, there’s all that, but there’s the “heritage” of anti-Catholicism embodied in the monument to Byrnes. The KKK focused on persecuting Catholics and hispanic Americans before blacks, as evinced by the murder of Fr. James Coyle–whose killer was defended (succsessfully) by another future Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black.
Nevertheless, the cultural purge that has taken place in the past 2 weeks is terrifying. The cultural engineers of the Left have used this flag as a symbol of hate–their hate, their hatred for traditional values of any sort; their hatred for culture; their hatred from anyone who rejects federal micromanagement of our lives. The swiftness with which they’ve banned sales of “confederate flag related merchandise”–even books and historical computer games–from major brick and mortar and online retailers, from gift shops at federal historical sites, etc.; from positing on social media; and from display at some historical sites–should terrify anyone who has any concern for freedom of speech.