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It’s Time To Take Down The Confederate Flag




|| By FITSNEWS ||  It’s been barely twenty-four hours since a troubled 21-year-old white kid with Confederate flag license plates murdered nine black parishioners – including S.C. Senator Clementa Pinckney – at the historic Mother Emanuel AME church in downtown Charleston, S.C.  In other words everything you’ve read about this tragedy – beyond the original news coverage of the incident and the identification and capture of its alleged perpetrator – is knee-jerk commentary.

As the initial shock, grief and anger subsides – and as we become better able to make sense of the information that’s out there – the hope is that facts will ultimately give way to truth.  And truth will ultimately give way to wisdom.  And wisdom will ultimately yield a better world.

Of course that’s wishful thinking – as we’ve seen already.  Before the blood on the floor at Mother Emanuel had even dried, U.S. president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the odds-on favorite to succeed him in the Oval Office, were nakedly politicizing the tragedy in an effort to build momentum for another anti-Second Amendment crusade.

Common courtesy (and common sense) be damned …

Left and right, all sorts of agendas are being advanced – and will be advanced – in the aftermath of this shooting.  Facts will be twisted, generalizations will be made, motives will be presumed (and impugned) and our polarized culture will pull at the threads from both ends in an effort to unravel anything resembling resolution.

None of the dissonance will bring back the dead – nor will it soothe those who mourn them.  Nor is the cacophonous clamor of talking heads and click-bait web commentary likely to produce the sort of better-worldly wisdom mentioned above.

But through the thick fog created by the “Holy City Massacre” we believe there is truth to be found – and when we think we’ve stumbled upon it, we will say so.

For example, we believe the premeditated carnage – whatever delusional rationalization precipitated it – affirms our support for the expansion of capital punishment (an issue which, ironically, was being debated on this site earlier this week).  We also believe – contrary to Obama and Clinton – it affirms our support for the Second Amendment.  Furthermore, we believe it should spark a serious discussion about mental illness – one this website has been inexcusably slack in advancing.  And yes, it should probably challenge (to some extent) this website’s oft-stated support for the immediate decriminalization of all drugs.

But this post isn’t about the death penalty, gun rights, mental health or drug abuse … or even the despicable racism that appears to have contributed mightily to this tragedy.  It’s about a symbol that, rightly or wrongly, has come to be viewed as racist.

And as the fog lifts from the “Holy City Massacre,” we need to see that symbol no more.  We need to see an empty flag post on the north lawn of the S.C. State House … we need to see the Confederate flag removed from the grounds of our state’s capital. 

To be clear: This website has never supported – or opposed – the flag.  Because we’ve never really cared about it (even when it was the focal point of the state’s political debate).

“We believe symbols like the Confederate flag – or any other flag – don’t matter because they can easily be used by anybody to advance anything … just like political labels,” we wrote not long ago.

We still believe that to be the case.  Which is why – up until now – we’ve never called for it to be taken down.

“State leaders can leave it, move it, burn it or use it as a bath towel for all we care,” we wrote back in 2011.

Exactly.  Which is why we’ve reiterated this view every time the issue has reared its largely irrelevant head.

But if the question is one of our indifference versus the legitimate angst of others – then this issue should be a no-brainer.  Irrespective of who’s right or wrong from a historical standpoint, why keep something that’s needlessly offending people?  Whether the flag stands for “heritage” or “hate” – or neither or both – it is being perceived as hateful.  And in this case, there is no compelling rationalization to counter this perception.

In other words, there’s nothing about the flag worth fighting for.

If we truly believe it to be a non-issue, then we should have no issue with it coming down.  And we don’t.

In 2009, we polled this issue 40 and found that percent of FITS readers wanted the flag to stay where it is.  Meanwhile 34 percent wanted it back on top of the State House and 26 percent wanted it off the grounds completely and placed in a museum.  Last fall we polled a much broader sample of readers and found that 38 percent supported the flag’s current location, 34 percent wanted it moved to a museum and 28 percent wanted it raised from the dome again.

What will our readers say this time?  Who knows … but in our view, it’s time for the flag to go.

Oh, and for the record we don’t believe it should be placed in a government museum – because we don’t believe museums are core functions of government.  Lawmakers should simply pass a measure removing the banner from its current location on the State House grounds and be done with it.