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 www.flickr.com/photos/maleszyk/5062765375/sizes/l (CC BY 2.0)