A More Democratic and Considered Move on the Flag

Unlike last week's mad rush, the South Carolina legislature has been considering the issue with regard to the feelings of the people. And people, even those who see the flag as essentially about history and heritage, have been moved by the events and grace at Charleston.
Among whites, 39 percent said the incident made them less likely to support the flag flying at the State House while 18 percent said the incident made them more likely to support it.... The Free Times/Crantford Research poll also found that South Carolina voters are optimistic about the prospects for the shooting to bring residents closer together: 41 percent believe the incident will ultimately improve race relations, compared to 16 percent who believe it will make matters worse. Black voters were somewhat less optimistic than whites; 38 percent of African-Americans and 43 percent of whites thought the incident would lead to better race relations.
This, I think, is the best result we can get from such a tragedy. Not that everyone should come to agree that the flag is a symbol of (and only of) hatred and oppression, but that those who disagree can come to consider and respect the views of those for whom it cannot be otherwise.

The Legislature is reconvened for the debate, though early indicators suggest the votes are there.
College of Charleston political science professor Gibbs Knotts said he was a bit surprised at the strong support in the conservative Legislature to remove the flag. But he said it likely reflects a “big public shift” that has taken place recently in South Carolina...

[T]he bills are expected to be channeled through committees, potentially delaying a final vote for several weeks.
One hopes that, to some degree, the shift works in both directions. "Heritage, not hate" is a great concept as long as it's real. This offers some evidence that it is real, that where it cannot be perceived except as hate, supporters of the flag as heritage are prepared to compromise without surrendering their view. America could learn a lot from that.

UPDATE: On the other hand, there's always the vocal (and young) minority.


MikeD said...

My own take on it is that for those of us in SC that aren't particularly tied to the flag nor particularly worked up against it, that it seems like if our fellow community members are that animated against it that perhaps it's fine to move it off of the government grounds. Heritage is fine, and I don't feel that displaying the Confederate flag MUST be or even generally IS intended to be hateful. But the fact that the perception exists right now means that heritage has a time and place, and right now (because of the tragic events caused by this evil person) that it is the right and neighborly thing to do to respect the loss of our neighbors by honoring their feelings and moving the flag.

Full disclosure, as I said, I've no particular love for nor attachment to the Confederate flag, so taking it down doesn't really inconvenience me at all. I'm sure there are folks who it does trouble. And I am sorry that they take it that way. But the friends and family of the murder victims have a little more sympathy from me right now, so I consider removing the flag to be the lesser of two evils. What I think is absolutely absurd is everyone else scrambling to prove that they're more sensitive than thou about the whole flag thing and outright banning it from their business. Mind you, they have every right to do so, I don't think a business should ever be mandated to sell a blessed thing, but it's the attitude behind it that annoys me.

Grim said...

In fairness, the news story does sound like the anti-flag protesters started the brawl by both stealing a flag and then assaulting the owner. That's not surprising if it's true, because there's been such a celebration of the woman who scaled the flagpole and took down the flag as an act of civil disobedience, for which she was arrested. Celebration of extra-legal protests creates a climate where this seems reasonable.

On the other hand, it'd be interesting to sit down with this young man and talk through his claims:

“The blood on my face, the blood in my teeth, the blood on my hands is no comparison to the Southern blood that runs through my veins,” Joe Linder told CBS News.

He goes on to say that it's not about race, but it is apparently about blood. That would be an interesting claim to unpack. I assume he means something like 'My great-great grandfather was a Confederate Army veteran," in which case the appeal to blood makes sense even if you discard the idea that there are races (or that 'race' is an issue). But it's an interesting juxtaposition.

Texan99 said...

Interesting that Michael Moore is adopting Charles Murray's proposal for funding civil disobedience.

Grim said...

Is he? I hadn't heard.

E Hines said...

Does Michael "Ball of Special Snowflakes" Moore understand that arrest and jail--and conviction and more jail--are necessary parts of civil disobedience?

Eric Hines

douglas said...

Not if you're on the left. They only get a slap on the wrist, or are simply released after being held overnight.

The left never had to say they're sorry..