Why Confederate Flag continues to fly

Published Jun 21, 2015, 6:45 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 7:47 pm IST
The flag was seen as symbol of racial apartheid (Photos:  viaweb)
 The flag was seen as symbol of racial apartheid (Photos: viaweb)

Washington: South Carolina, a state that’s nearly 30% African-American, celebrates “Confederate Memorial Day” and proudly displays the flag of the Southern Confederacy at its statehouse in Columbia  a longstanding practice that’s under increasing fire following this week’s Charleston massacre, in which a white gunman murdered nine black churchgoers. In 2000, state lawmakers reached a “comprise” on the controversial symbol, voting to move the flag from the top of the dome to smack-dab in front of the statehouse. In the first state to secede from the Union in 1861, this was what passed for progress, Salon said. However, by now, everybody knows that the Confederate Flag is neither a symbol of heritage, nor is it a symbol of hatred.

After the Civil War, Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens wrote a revisionist account entitled A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States, which helped push the myth that the war was really about states’ rights. According to a 2011 Pew research poll, just nine per cent of Americans had a positive reaction to the Confederate flag. But while the ranks of stars-and-bars fans may be thin nationally, much of the modern Republican Party, defined as it is by white Southern support, cannot bring itself to condemn the symbol of racial apartheid.

Republican South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said following the massacre that although the flag “been used in a racist way” in the past, it remained ”part of who we are,” shrugging off the symbolism in favor of “what’s in people’s heart.”Republican politicians have stumbled over themselves to pander to GOP South Carolina primary voters at the expense of the truth, their fellow Americans and potential voters granted, the 2012 primary garnered a pathetic 1% turnout from African-American voters for entirely too long.

During a 2000 Republican primary debate in South Carolina, moderator Brian Williams asked, “does the flag offend you personally,” to which George W. Bush  retorted, “I believe the people of South Carolina can figure what to do with this flag issue. I don’t believe it’s the role of someone from outside South Carolina and someone running for president to come into South Carolina.”   



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