While retail establishments are quickly removing the Confederate flag from its shelves, some southerners are defending it in the most adorable ways.
Defenders of the Confederacy are watching as license plates, statues and prominently placed Confederate battle flags are slipping from their reach following the heinous murder of nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist who brandished that flag.
“This is the beginning of communism,” said Robert Lampley, who was standing in the hot sun in front of the South Carolina State House shortly after the legislature voted overwhelmingly to debate the current placement of the Confederate battle flag, the New York Times reports. “The South is the last bastion of liberty and independence. I know we’re going to lose eventually.”
“Our people are dying off,” he added, before encouraging a white reporter to “keep reproducing.”
Lampley proves our point in that the flag was adopted by white supremacists.
The New York Times reports:
Confederate sympathizers across the country have insisted over the last few days that the racism-fueled massacre of nine black people in a Charleston church had nothing to do with their symbols, even though Dylann Roof, charged in the killings, embraced those symbols in photos and in his speech. But such arguments have had limited effect, as politicians all over the South have reacted to the shooting by welcoming the elimination of such symbols, or at least some high-profile ones, from state property.
Resistance to this push has varied, with some hard-core Confederate sympathizers who swore defiance to politicians explaining that they simply thought things were moving too quickly. Lawmakers in South Carolina who voted against opening the placement of the flag to debate said they were concerned that the flag’s rushed removal would lead to the renaming of countless streets and the destruction of Confederate monuments that are strewn across the state.
“We want to proceed and make sure that we’re doing it properly and we don’t have unintended consequences,” said State Representative Craig Gagnon (R). “We don’t want to just trash everything and take everything away.”
“You’re asking me to agree that my great-grandparent and great-great-grandparents were monsters,” said Greg Stewart, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the executive director of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis.
Wrong. We’re asking for people to realize that the Confederate flag has been co-opted by racists.
Stewart called Philip Gunn’s, the GOP speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives call to remove the flag, “reckless and unnecessary.”
In South Carolina, members of the state division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said that now was not the time to discuss moving the flag.
While he insisted that hatred and racism had no place in the organization, Kenneth Thrasher, the lieutenant commander for the division, said in an interview that he could understand taking down the flag while the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a state senator and one of the nine killed in Charleston, was lying in state.
If not now, when?
“But to permanently decide today is a little too fast,” he said. “The flag didn’t kill anybody. It was a deranged young man who did.” Mr. Thrasher said he could be agreeable to a compromise, like allowing the flag to fly in front of the state museum.
Inside of a museum would be preferable, thank you very much.
“He should be knocking heads together instead of just laying down and rolling over,” said Harris Dail, a member who lives in Topeka, Kan., and who accused Thrasher of having “caved in with the rest of these brainwashed people” in a comment on the division’s website.
Those who sold Confederate goods said efforts to remove the flag from stores were based on a misunderstanding of its current meaning to many Southerners. Freddie Rich, the owner of RebelStore.com from Kings Mountain, N.C., which sells Confederate flags and bumper stickers (including one that reads, “I Believe the South Was Right, and I Don’t Believe in Slavery — Then or Now”) said his customers bought Confederacy-themed merchandise as an expression of regional pride and admiration for Civil War veterans.
“There’s nothing racial about it,” he said of the Confederate flag. “This is history to us.”
A Texas man nailed a 6-foot wooden Confederate flag to a building across from the Montague County Courthouse, then refused to take it down even though leaders throughout the South had called for the removal of offensive Civil War-era symbols.
On Twitter, I’ve observed people claiming that removing the flag is an assault on white people. That pretty much makes our case for us in that the flag does not represent African Americans.
But some people get it.
In Texas, a bearded man walked into a tattoo parlor to get the Confederate flag removed after seeing the pained look on a middle-age black woman at his gym on Monday.
“‘If South Carolina can take theirs down,’ ” Kelly Barr who works at the tattoo parlor recalled him saying, “ ‘I can take mine down.’” I told him, ‘Right on.’”
Indeed. Right on.
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