The Confederate flag goes down

The Herald reports:

The no longer flies anywhere on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds for the first time since the 1960s civil rights movement, after it was removed in a swift ceremony Friday before thousands of people who cheered as the rebel banner was lowered.

Many people believed the flag would fly indefinitely in this state, which was the first to secede as the pro-slavery Confederacy began fighting the American Civil War. But the killing of nine black church members during a Bible study in Charleston last month changed that sentiment and reignited calls to bring down Confederate flags and symbols across the nation.

The votes were overwhelming. It needed a two thirds majority and passed 94 to 20 in the state house and 36-3 in the state senate. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans – they hold 77 of the 123 house seats and 28 of the 46 senate seats. The Governor is also Republican.

I think this move was long overdue. Regardless of arguments about its original symbolism, the confederate flag today is a deeply hateful one for many African Americans. You can argue all you like about it representing states’ rights, but again symbols change. The swastika is originally a Buddhist religious symbol, and the actions of the Third Reich have changed it.

Having the flag fly at the State Legislature was inappropriate. It does belong in a museum.

That doesn’t mean though you ban it from culture. The banning of reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard because their car (The General Lee) has a confederate flag is barmy. There’s a difference between the state parliament and a TV show.

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