Down It Comes … Now What?

It certainly looks like the days of the Confederate Battle Flag flying on the grounds of the state house in Columbia, South Carolina are numbered. This is in large part due to prominent South Carolina political leaders changing positions under pressure given the recent mass murder in the state.

No one can deny that. The arguments concerning the display of that particular flag are neither more nor less valid than before. Nor will the flag’s removal silence white supremacists and Confederate heritage advocates (especially those who have freely associated with white supremacists).

So, what’s next? Will this debate subside or continue, as people look to other uses of Confederate icons and symbols? Is this simply about a flag that is as much a symbol of resistance to civil rights and equality as it was a symbol for soldiers whose performance on the battlefield might have secured the independence of a republic founded upon the cornerstone of white supremacy and inequality?

One thing is clear: it has not been a good ten days for Confederate heritage advocates. Between licence plates, several SCV divisions rebuking other Confederate heritage groups for outrageous and childish behavior, and the fallout from Charleston, it may be that in 2015 people marked the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War by doing to Confederate heritage what Grant and Sherman did to the Confederacy itself in 1865.