Tag Archives: south carolina and the confederate flag

Charleston and the Confederate Flag

Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham is currently a senator representing the state of South Carolina, so naturally, he’s was asked last week about conditions in his state and the slaughter of black worshippers in their church by a white racist.

He told CNN

We’re not going to give this a guy an excuse about a book he might have read or a movie he watched or a song he listened to or a symbol out anywhere. It’s him … not the flag.

And Graham’s right, of course: a guy pulled the trigger, not a flag, and it’s not fair to blame a flag for the guy’s actions.

confederate flagBut still: there’s a culture in South Carolina, a culture that still celebrates the Confederate flag and, at least implicitly and apparently, as this shooting illustrates, in some ways explicitly as well, celebrates what that flag stood for. It’s hard not to believe that an attitude like this doesn’t contribute to the kind of cultural indoctrination that leads a guy to open fire at people in a church because they don’t look like him and his family.

Graham also told CNN:

It works here, that’s what the statehouse agreed to do. You could probably visit other places in the country near some symbol that doesn’t quite strike you right.

And that’s where Graham loses The Curmudgeon: “You could probably visit other places in the country near some symbol that doesn’t quite strike you right.”

That seems to be his justification, as it is for many others, for South Carolina’s insistence on continuing to fly the Confederate flag: it’s part of their heritage, part of their culture, and it shows their respect for the soldiers who fought for them during the Civil War.

And that argument could almost be accepted except for this:

Look at what those soldiers fought for.

Look at that culture and what it believed and espoused.

You have to wonder how the same argument would fly if Graham or those who share his view found themselves in Germany staring at a swastika flying on a flag outside a government building or even a private residence and, when they expressed concern about what they were seeing and what it meant, were told that the Nazi era was part of Germany’s heritage, part of what the German people fought for, and something that needs to be remembered and respected and that’s the only significance of continuing to fly a flag with a swastika on it.

The Curmudgeon suspects that the argument they continue to make here about the Confederate flag – something they clearly believe even though there’s now at least some short-term movement to take it down – would no longer seem so convincing.

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