Goodbye To All That

This evening, by a vote of 94-20, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to remove the Confederate Battle Flag flying on the grounds of the state capitol.

The vote follows a 36-3 vote yesterday in the South Carolina Senate.

Governor Nikki Haley has indicated she will sign the legislation into law.

What happens next isn’t so clear: the debate over the Confederate flag, symbols, and icons had gone far past this original objective identified in the wake of the murder of nine African Americans in Charleston by a gunman who took a great interest in the Confederacy.

I have heard it said that Dylann Roof was an outlier, not representative of Confederate heritage. Yet I’m not convinced that his beliefs were all that different from those you might find expressed in Backsass, the blog of Virginia Flaggers webmaster Connie Chastain Ward, or by League of the South president Michael Hill (there’s not much difference between Chastain Ward and Hill, either). Read Roof’s manifesto, then read what we’ve seen Hill and Chastain say. Tell me the differences, and whether they outweigh the areas of fundamental agreement.

What happened this week in Columbia was an interesting moment, but the success of the effort to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the capitol grounds does not mark the end of this issue, nor will it bring peace and harmony. This debate will continue. There will be more votes and decisions concerning the public display or selling of Confederate symbols elsewhere. We’ll discuss some of the more visible ones here. But let’s also remember that the Chastains and the Hills and the Heimbachs and so on won’t fade away.

26 thoughts on “Goodbye To All That

  1. Leo July 9, 2015 / 5:55 am

    Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi remains hunkered down in his bunker whistling Dixie with his fingers in his ears.

    • Laqueesha July 9, 2015 / 7:32 am

      I’m disappointed. I was hoping Mississippi was better than that and was going to leave all that nonsense behind.

      • Leo July 9, 2015 / 9:01 am

        I would not put too much faith in Phil Bryant. He is a political dinosaur from the segregation era who is pandering to the tea party after a bitter U.S. Senate race between Chris McDaniel and Thad Cochran. The speaker of the Mississippi House, Philip Gunn (R), is the highest-ranking state official to come out in favor for a new flag. Even if Speaker Gunn can put together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, Bryant would likely veto any change to the state flag coming from the legislature. This is a classic case of a selfish political interest on the governor’s part that will keep Mississippi in the dark ages and a social pariah.

    • John Foskett July 9, 2015 / 9:35 am

      And his ears are obviously in the current location of his head.

  2. Laqueesha July 9, 2015 / 7:24 am

    On the bright side, if South Carolina, a state where neo-Confederate sympathies run high, probably the highest in the entire Union, can vote to remove the C.S. flag, I’d say the future is bright.

    Regardless of whether or not the killer’s views were similar to modern neo-Confederates, they cannot deny that they were VERY similar to the views of the actual Confederates of the 1860s. Just read the secession declarations and secession convention speeches from those days.

    • Andy Hall July 9, 2015 / 11:41 am

      . . . they cannot deny that they were VERY similar to the views of the actual Confederates of the 1860s.

      But they do deny it, and they have their own networks continually to assure them that they’re right. The whole Confederate Heritage™ movement revolves around denying the core ideology, the raison d’etre, of the Confederacy itself. Sure, it’s a delusion, but they’re deluding themselves as much or more than they’re fooling anyone else.

      • Laqueesha July 10, 2015 / 2:40 pm

        Indeed. Though, a few of the more hardcore “southern nationalist” types seem to admit the racism and slaver element of the Confederacy.

  3. Jimmy Dick July 9, 2015 / 7:44 am
  4. Mark July 9, 2015 / 8:33 am

    Do Connie Chastain and Michael Hill state a belief in black inferiority? I confess I’ve never read what they have to say, and would prefer not to. I assumed it was a fuzzy headed romanticism that would deny the ugliness of those past beliefs. I’m not questioning it, because I don’t know. I just assumed otherwise.

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 9, 2015 / 8:44 am

      I have covered Ms. Chastain’s statements on race before. Take a look and reach your own conclusions.

  5. Leo July 9, 2015 / 10:48 am

    I came across Connie about 10 years ago in a yahoo chat group. I did not post much and never commented on her posts, but mostly browsed the comments for my own entertainment. The vast majority of Connie’s posts were on the Civil War, the Confederate flag, and rape. She had two fellow travelers in there one of which was a blatant bigot and the other a bipolar reactionary. She never distanced herself from racist comments of her two compatriots because she said it was not her place to condemn or control the opinions of others. However, she went ballistic if anyone ever posted one thing she felt was against the Confederate flag or the Confederacy. Her postings on rape were just odd. If I recall correctly, she said there was a vast conspiracy of fake rape allegations against men and boys by leftists. Like I said, her postings were just odd.

    Anyway, Connie was careful about posting obviously racist comments, but she slipped up a few times. I recall one of those times being a post about white people having the right to live in exclusively white neighborhoods or something like that. People took to calling her KKKonnie.

    • Connie Chastain July 10, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      If memory serves, there was a discussion of an upscale all-black neighborhood near Atlanta, and I asked members who disapproved of all-white neighborhoods what they thought of that. I said I had no problem with either one. My belief then (and now) is that without coercion by the government to either force the races apart or together, most whites prefer to associate with whites, most blacks with blacks, most hispanics with hispanics, and most Asians with Asians, and there would be some from each group who preferred to mingle. And I don’t have a problem with any of that so long as it isn’t forced.

  6. Mike Musick July 9, 2015 / 11:40 am

    “There will be more…decisions concerning the public display or selling of Confederate symbols elsewhere.” The cover of James Loewen and Edward Sebesta’s “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader” features a Confederate battle flag and no other flags or emblems. Will this title be banned from National Park Service-related bookstores and the offerings of Amazon, Walmart, and others? Sometimes such matters are more complicated than they at first appear.

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 9, 2015 / 12:10 pm

      Precisely. For example … remove CSA monuments at Gettysburg?

      • James F. Epperson July 10, 2015 / 10:38 am

        I would say no to that. I see a bright line between a flag that was put up for a contemporary political purpose 100 years after the war, and physical monuments erected on battlefields. I frankly don’t have a problem with marking graves in cemeteries (incl. Federal ones) with Confederate flags. The point is not that the battle flag should disappear from public spaces, but that its placement there should reflect an accurate historical context.

        • Laqueesha July 10, 2015 / 2:37 pm

          Why the battle flag, though? Why not the First National?

    • Andy Hall July 10, 2015 / 9:58 am

      The cover of James Loewen and Edward Sebesta’s “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader” features a Confederate battle flag and no other flags or emblems. Will this title be banned from National Park Service-related bookstores and the offerings of Amazon, Walmart, and others? Sometimes such matters are more complicated than they at first appear.

      Presumably not; this is the description of the amendment:

      An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to enter into a new contract or agreement or to administer a portion of an existing contract with a concessioner in any facility within a unit of the National Park System of an item with a Confederate flag as a stand-alone feature.

      The key here is the “Confederate flag as a stand-alone feature.” The devil is always in the details, as the saying goes, but I very much doubt it was intended to include books, videos or similar materials. This, however, is over for NPS vendors.

      • Mike Musick July 10, 2015 / 1:16 pm

        Thanks, Andy. I think I’ve read that Dennis Frye, of the NPS here in Harpers Ferry, and someone else at Gettysburg, have said that books with only the battle flag on the cover have been removed from the park-affiliated bookstores, but I could be misinterpreting something – or just plain wrong. Love your photo, especially the babes.

        • Andy Hall July 10, 2015 / 2:15 pm

          I’m sure it will take a little while for it all to settle out. My impression is that the NPS is, collectively, a pretty smart organization and will err on the side of practicing good history.

          • Mike Musick July 10, 2015 / 5:51 pm

            Right you are. I visited the bookstore in Harpers Ferry park this afternoon (though not Gettysburg), and spoke with the lady in charge. They don’t carry CBFs, patches with that device, etc.. They do have six or seven books whose covers are essentially the CBF, but view these as appropriate in view of the contents and context (memoirs, letters, etc.). They are especially strong in the areas of Black History, John Brown, and the abolitionist and antislavery movements. Anyone in this vicinity would be well advised to drop in at the store, as their wide-ranging inventory would appeal to readers of this blog.

  7. Derek July 9, 2015 / 2:14 pm

    Governor Haley’s Facebook Page has been covered in filth by flag defenders in South Carolina now.

    • Laqueesha July 10, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      Hey, if neo-Confederates and Lost Causers hate her, she must be doing something right!

  8. Billy B July 10, 2015 / 6:01 am

    Dylann Roof was a 21 year old young man that spent to much time playing video games and doing drugs. That is what I have read about him. Hardly a deep thinker when it comes to race relations.

    Portraying Dylann Roof as the poster boy for all those that own a Confederate Flag is not only an insult to anyone that has half a brain it is also inflammatory to people that just want to keep a symbol that they think is nostalgic to them.

    God Bless!

    • Brooks D. Simpson July 10, 2015 / 9:43 am

      Many white supremacists are not deep thinkers when it comes to race relations. Meet Connie Chastain.

      I don’t think Roof is representative of a movement. However, he sure sparked one. I have already said that it is regrettable, to say the least, that a mass murder had to spark a debate where the contending positions had been aired for years. Now let’s see where that discussion goes.

      • Laqueesha July 10, 2015 / 2:31 pm

        Indeed. Though I must say that the “drugs made him do it” argument is getting quite old.

  9. Billy B July 13, 2015 / 7:01 am

    Laqueesha, drugs may not have made him do it, it could have been that Roof was a racist pure and simple. Hate brings out the worst in people.

    Roof killing beautiful black people in their own church wasn’t just sacrilegious, but revealing on what type of evil person he was. I just hope blacks in the South will not see people like me that are white Confederate Flag toting Southerners as being morally corrupt as Roof.

    Personally, i would be the first one to take down the Confederate Flag if I knew it would bring those black church members back, or even if it would make the world a better place, but the issue is not the Confederate Flag, the issue is our society have have created with race baiters, ignorant liberal followers, and not pushing to make our children model citizens.

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