By in Breaking News

South Carolina takes down the Confederate flag, and turns a corner in its history

The Confederate flag came down from the South Carolina capitol grounds today. I believe that was a significant event in the history of that state, and perhaps of our nation.

Just weeks ago such an event would have seemed impossible. It would require a two-thirds vote of both houses of the state's legislature, as well as the signature of the governor, to bring down that flag. Fulfilling even one of those requirements appeared to be a political impossibility.

But then, after nine African Americans attending a church Bible study were killed in a racially motivated shooting, something happened that no one could have predicted. People who before this time had been content to allow their state to be divided by that flag, suddenly began to understand how hurtful it was to their African American neighbors. They found themselves identifying emotionally with the families of those who died by the hand of a racist shooter, and realized how the insistence on keeping the Confederate flag flying to celebrate Southern "heritage" told those people they didn't matter to the rest of their fellow citizens. Hearts and minds began to change. And the impossible happened.

Yes, there are still many in South Carolina, and in all the states, who have not changed, and perhaps never will. But I believe, along with governor Nikki Haley, that the people of South Carolina have made a step toward unity from which they will not retreat.

The road is still long. But at least now, it's the right road.

Image Credit » Bryan Maleszyk at (CC BY 2.0)

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CoralLevang wrote on July 11, 2015, 12:26 AM

It is certainly a symbolic gesture that is historical. Unfortunately, it takes much longer for hearts to change. I hope it happens sooner than later. It's taken much too long already.

JohnRoberts wrote on July 11, 2015, 9:13 AM

I heartily disagree that taking down the flag is major step. If anything it stirred up a segment of the population and may create even more hatred and resentment toward those supporting its removal. The absurdity of this "victory for mankind" is symbolized by the Dukes of Hazard being pulled of the air.

GemOfAGirl wrote on July 11, 2015, 6:31 PM

I agree - it's definitely a step in the right direction. It's true that it won't change any hearts and minds, but I do think it's important that a symbol of hatred (not to mention an anti-United States symbol) is no longer being glorified above a governmental building.

GemOfAGirl wrote on July 11, 2015, 6:34 PM

I'm curious about how you feel about reruns of "The Cosby Show" being pulled off the air? You called the removal of "The Dukes of Hazzard" from the airwaves, censorship - would you say the same about the same decision being made about "The Cosby Show"? As I stated on the other thread where I saw you going down that road, the fact that the show was taken off the air is a reflection of the fact that a network doesn't like the idea of losing advertiser dollars, and it's therefore an exercise of the free market system.

JohnRoberts wrote on July 11, 2015, 7:51 PM

I also think it is ridiculous to pull The Cosby Show off the air. Those whom are offended by Cosby can choose not to watch and those wishing to watch should be allowed to do so. The same applies to 7th Heavens being pulled (it has since returned) in light of Stephen Collins' admissions. Watching these shows aren't going to turn one into a racist, rapist or pedophile. I understand your point about losing advertising dollars but then again some of those same TV decision makers choose to leave low rated networks and programs on the air because they are liberal minded fare. I would think the general populace would be more offended by watching an alleged rapist or pedophile playing "family nice" than the stars and bars on the hood of a car.

msiduri wrote on July 12, 2015, 7:33 AM

I agree. Though as a symbol with no inherent meaning it means different things to different people. At the same time, I see it as a good thing that the state recognizes it as a symbol of division. But the silliness of removing "The Dukes of Hazzard" is just too trivial to talk about. There are plenty of reason to remove the show. It's simplistic and, well, vapid on the best of days. But I can see one reason for pulling "The Cosby Show" and "7th Heaven": not to put any further money in the pockets in those who sexual abuse other human beings.

msiduri wrote on July 12, 2015, 7:41 AM

Those who see what's come to be known as the Confederate flag as a symbol of southern pride have are still protected and can fly the flag on their property, display it on their cars and trucks, clothing, etc. No one is outlawing it. What removing it from the state capitol is doing is removing the state's endorsement of a symbol of division among its citizens and acknowledging its association with the anti-desegregation crowd of the mid-20th century. That is a statement worth making. I agree that, while there are many reasons to remove "The Dukes of Hazzard" from the air, that it features a car painted with the Confederate flag really isn't near the top of the list.

GemOfAGirl wrote on July 12, 2015, 3:21 PM

And all of those shows are available on DVD. For many of us, it's not about turning audience members into racists, rapists or pedophiles, because you're right, that's ridiculous, and it just won't happen. It's about whether or not you are glorifying racists, rapists or pedophiles, and perhaps whether or not you want to continue paying them via residuals (for the ones that actually do receive residuals from reruns.) Network executives, in a free market, capitalistic society, have the right to make those decisions. If it bothers you so much, you have the right to try to find a job as a network executive or a programming director.

JohnRoberts wrote on July 12, 2015, 5:10 PM

It doesn't bother me in the least. I am merely expressing an opinion and observation. Of course, network executive have the right to do as they wish in the name of profits but there have been examples over the course of years of using a certain excuse to defend pulling a show but keeping a show on that is guilty of the same reasoning that canceled the other show. Just pointing out hypocrisy. I get the glorifying point but where does it end? Do we not show Naked Gun movies because OJ Simpson was in them? Or the classic In Cold Blood because Robert Blake has the cloud of murder over his head? Do we stop playing movies starring those having committed adultery? Remember Rob Lowe caught with an underage girl? I am pointing out so many stars through history have been guilty of something that do we ban them? BTW they receive residuals from DVD sales.

Last Edited: July 12, 2015, 5:11 PM

GemOfAGirl wrote on July 12, 2015, 8:32 PM

Unless you're buying the DVD over and over, they only receive residuals from it once, no matter how many times you watch the DVD. If you're watching it over and over in syndication, they receive residuals over and over.

I doubt that you truly understand what I was saying - the loss of advertising dollars and protecting their brand. That is not a static thing. It varies over time. Were the "Naked Gun" movies being shown on TV while OJ Simpson was on trial? Hadn't Rob Lowe's scandal faded a LOT by the time he got cast on "The West Wing"? Whatever outrage people have right now (or at any time) fades over time. Income statement and balance sheet transactions and advertising dollars happen in the present. And a business's responsibility is to their stockholders - and their job is to maximize dollars, not to set a social agenda.

JohnRoberts wrote on July 12, 2015, 9:07 PM

Rerun residuals dwindle over time and older shows provide nothing. SAG is always fighting over residuals. There is the argument that those who worked with a Cosby are being unfairly screwed out of residuals.

The Rob Lowe thing is forgotten. And 7th Heaven is back. You are right time fades some things.

There are instances when liberal beliefs do trump profit margins. For instance Comcast/NBC/Universal has been hemorrhaging money for years with MSNBC.

DWDavisRSL wrote on July 16, 2015, 3:55 PM

Taking the flag down is one small step, especially in light of the reason it was raised in 1961 to begin with. The flag was not raised to symbolize "Southern" heritage, it was raised as a protest against desegregation and the civil rights movement. Prior to 1961 that particular flag had never flown over the South Carolina capital as it was never the national flag of the Confederacy. Taking it down, considering it's raison d'etre was long over due.

DWDavisRSL wrote on July 16, 2015, 4:00 PM

Thank you for being one of the voices of reason to point out that the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is not actually the Confederate Flag and that it was raised over the SC State House in 1961 to protest Federally ordered desegregation and the civil rights movement. These two facts oft get lost in the discussion.

msiduri wrote on July 16, 2015, 6:05 PM

Yes. It's long overdue, even if it's only a gesture.