South Carolina is making a mistake with the Confederate flag.
What should have been a pull-the-band-aid moment, South Carolina is turning into a drawn-out debate that can only get uglier each day it remains unresolved, particularly as the emotions over the Charleston shooting begins to fade, which will happen naturally.
In all fairness, the General Assembly is expected to take up this issue next week, a couple of days after we celebrate the Fourth of July. By the state’s usual standards, that’s fast, particularly considering the paradigm shift removing the flag would represent.
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Related: Survey: Confederate flag push reaches key milestone in South Carolina
Still, allowing it to linger even this long has potential consequences.
A woman taking to State House grounds and illegally removing the flag came in the midst of more and more people affixing large Confederate flags to their trucks, and slowly driving them around. Now the supposedly largest Ku Klux Klan outfit in the nation is heading to the State House soon to have a pro-flag rally.
We've already had the debate, already know what we need to on this issue.
The General Assembly unwisely didn't just vote to remove the flag on the same day it voted to open up debate about it. It backed itself into a corner in 2000 when it changed the law to demand a supermajority vote before it could be moved.
In Alabama, the governor quietly said remove the flag, and it was done. But it's not done in South Carolina.
As the emotional response from the Charleston 9 shooting fades - as emotions do after all such horrific acts - we’ll see who really believed what they said while the emotions were raw. How will be know? By their actions.
Related: I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery:
Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.
The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home's three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.
He said, "Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America"The first time it happened, I had just finished a tour of the home. People were filing out of their seats, and one man stayed behind to talk to me. He said, "Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America."
I started to protest, but he interrupted me. "You didn't know. You're young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they'd do anything to make America less great." He was loud and confusing, and I was 22 years old and he seemed like a million feet tall.