The nauseating insult on top of the catastrophic injury wrought by the racist terror attack that killed nine black parishioners in Charleston has been the continued presence of the Confederate flag flying on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds. Even as they tearfully mourn the tragic victims of that mass shootings, South Carolina Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Nikki Haley have shown no sign of backing off of their support for the flag.
In case you missed it, Haley dismissed the issue just a few months ago because she’s Indian-American, and CEOs don’t seem to mind:
“What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”
“… we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor, when we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message.”
”There is a guy out there named Bubba,” said Mr. Graham. ”He grew up when public schools got integrated. He goes to work every day. There are women and African-Americans in the workplace and he’s fine with that, but he thinks the whole world is against him and has rights he doesn’t have. He thinks the flag is the last thing he has going for him and he’s not going to take it down. I don’t want to step on Bubba’s feelings. There are no groups sticking up for the Bubbas of the world.”
Bubba’s feelings were apparently not impressed.
Former Governor and current Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) has also been getting in on the act, pushing the “both sides” narrative to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Thursday night, and on Friday morning, April Ryan took a lot of guff on Twitter for telling a Morning Joe panel that she “understands both sides” of the issue, a statement that she clarified at length on Twitter.
For anyone who loves America and is loyal to her, there are not two sides to this debate, there is only one: that flag is a racist symbol of an army of traitors, and it has no place in any public display. Period.
That journalists continue to humor those who cannot accept this is sad, but what Lindsey Graham did on CNN Friday morning took a step even beyond that. In addition to trotting out that old “Heritage, not hate” garbage, Graham just flat-out lied to Alisyn Camerota about the political compromise that moved the flag from the capitol dome to its current berth:
“The compromise years ago, the Black Caucus in South Carolina, Republicans, and Democrats came up with a compromise to take the Confederate flag off the dome of capitol and build an African-American memorial, there’s a Confederate war memorial out front of the capitol. They put a flag behind that memorial. I don’t know what the laws are about lowering it. Here is what I do want to say. We are not going to give this guy an excuse about a book he might have read or a movie he watched or a song he listened to, or a symbol out..anywhere. It’s him.”
“(T)his is part of who we are. The flag represents to some people a civil war. That was the symbol of one side. To others, it’s a racist symbol. It’s been used by people in a racist way. The problems we have in South Carolina and throughout the world are not because of a movie or a symbol.”
Before I get to the actual lie, though, let’s just unpack the rest of the complete garbage that Graham dumped on Camerota. Graham is right that the flag represents one side of a civil war, and that it’s a racist symbol, he just doesn’t seem to realize those are exactly the same thing. It represents the racist side of the civil war, the side that wanted to continue to enslave and murder black people with impunity. Now, if your great-grandpappy died under that flag, feel free to mourn his loss in the fight to preserve slavery, but not on our land. This is the trick these “Heritage, not Hate” people seem to miss, that the heritage they’re celebrating is hate. It’s like waving a steak around and chanting “Beef, not Meat!”
Graham also introduces the false premise that anyone is using the flag as an excuse for the massacre, rather than as a validation, by the state, of the hateful ideology that motivated it, or that a flag being flown on government property is somehow equivalent to a movie or a song. On all of these points, Graham is merely wrong.
Where he’s lying, and slandering black lawmakers, is in insisting that the South Carolina Black Caucus had anything to do with the “compromise” that placed the flag where it is today:
“This does not heal,” said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, an African-American and the Democratic minority leader in the state House of Representatives. “All this does is divide.”
Cobb-Hunter led the House Legislative Black Caucus in a defiant rejection of the flag compromise. Of 26 African-American House members, only four voted for the final bill.
Black Caucus members say the battle flag’s new home on a flag pole in front of the Capitol, just a few feet from Columbia’s Main Street, is still offensive.
“The flag represents the Confederacy that enslaved, exploited, murdered, raped and killed our people for over three hundred years,” said Rep. Joe Neal, Black Caucus vice-chairman. “But somehow it seems to be okay to ask us to fly it in front of our building.”
That compromise was not accepted by the NAACP, and Governor Haley might also think about getting in touch with the NCAA, which maintains a tournament boycott of the state to this day.
The truly disgusting part of this is that I’m pretty sure Graham knows that flag is a racist symbol to everyone, but like so many other Republicans, he just doesn’t care enough about it to hear guff from “Bubba,” or lose a single one of his votes.