Why does it seem more often than not that the Republican Party (my party) is on the wrong side of the debate? Instead of using the killing of nine blacks in Charleston, South Carolina as an opportunity to engage black Americans, the GOP takes time to defend the Confederate flag.
“The flag didn’t have a thing to do with what happened,” bellowed former Haley Barbour Republican National Committee Chairman and former governor of Mississippi. Coincidentally, Mississippi is the only state that uses the Confederate symbol in its state flag.
Dylann Roof is a white supremacist. He wrote a racist manifesto laced with bigoted rants about blacks, Jews and Hispanics, which he posted on his website. One the 60 photos glorifying the Confederacy he posted online includes a picture of him holding a gun and a Confederate flag. His love of the Confederacy and what it symbolizes, an economy and culture built on whites owning blacks, absolutely fueled his hatred of blacks.
Moments before Roof began firing on parishioners at Emmanuel AME church, he told the black congregation attending Bible study that night:
“You rape our women. You’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
Maybe Barbour wasn’t aware of this. Barbour didn’t recall segregation being that bad either, as he told a reporter for the Weekly Standard several years ago. To a good ole’ boy like Barbour, it seems blacks just make mountains out of molehills.
In response to Roof’s racist killing rampage, a twitter storm erupted online with the hashtag #Take it down (referring to the Confederate flag). Since 1962, South Carolina has arrogantly flown the “Stars and bars” at its capitol in Columbia.
Republican presidential Mitt Romney, who has consistently opposed the Confederate flag, tweeted his unequivocal denunciation of it:
Many of the 2016 GOP hopefuls, who need minority votes to win the presidency, fell predictably back on the “states’ right” defense.
Senator Ted Cruz said he understands many people view the Confederate flag as a sign of “racial oppression” but added:
“I also understand those who want to remember the sacrifices of their ancestors and the traditions of their states . . .”
Those traditions the Confederacy fought to uphold during the Civil War were inhumane. The white male plantation masters owned blacks as property, used and abused them for free labor and raped female slaves
“This is an issue that they should debate and work through and not have a bunch of outsiders going in and telling them what to do,” remarked Senator Marco Rubio to reporters on South Carolina’s flag problem.
There’s nothing to work out! The Confederate flag is a sign of hatred.
Ohio Governor John Kasich, who’s contemplating a 2016 run said:
“This is up to the people of South Carolina to decide . . .”
No, the war was decided in 1865 and the south lost—slavery ended. The Confederate flag is not the flag of America it is the flag of racists.
The only woman, Carly Fiorina, vying for the GOP 2016 nomination said she agreed with Romney “but it’s up to the people of South Carolina.”
What’s up with all the caveats and double talk? Rather than take up the mantle of Abraham Lincoln, America’s first Republican president, who fought to end the Confederacy, Republicans are pandering to the racist white vote, which won’t win them national elections.
This would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so repulsive.
Another presidential candidate, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina boasted that flying the Confederate flag “is part of who we are.”
First, the Confederate flag is a symbol of division not unification like the American flag, as a friend told me. Second, Graham just sounds like a bigoted ambassador of the GOP, which isn’t good marketing for 2016.
Lastly, I’m disappointed it took public pressure for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to hold a press conference Monday declaring the flag would come down. Why didn’t Haley take this action last week instead of saying it was an issue the legislature needed to decide? The GOP always has to be backed into a corner or publicly embarrassed before it does what’s right?
What was sadder was watching South Carolina Senator Tim Scott stand next to Haley during the press conference. Scott appeared visibly uncomfortable, biting his lip. . . and his tongue, saying nothing. Ironically, as the first black Republican elected to the U.S Senate from South Carolina since Reconstruction, Scott had to have been more than a little bothered by the episode.
What is wrong with the GOP? Republicans supporting the Confederate flag and continuing to ignore the black, Hispanic and Asian vote is a recipe for losers. If the GOP keeps this up, it may very well become extinct before 2016.