In a South Carolina campaign stop this week, Senator Hillary Clinton said that the Confederate flag should be removed from the statehouse grounds in Columbia because, "the nation should unite under one banner while at war."
I have some problems with her statement--it sounds like it was written by a committee of political advisers. And I believe that Clinton is swiftly gaining the reputation of being a major triangulator. She really needs a Sister Souldjah Moment soon.
But.....solidifying her African-American base, even with a weak and watered-down comment on the CSA flag is not so difficult to understand. I will give her a pass on this one. I would like to know, however, what happens when the Iraq War ends (if ever)? Does the old rebel flag go right back up the pole?
By the way--most of the left has actually criticized the NAACP for overemphasizing the Confederate flag matter. Mother Jones wrote in 2000 that the this was a “side-show” and was accentuated at the “expense of meaningful activism on issues that really matter to African-Americans.” Z-Net agreed in 2002 arguing that the flag issue was a “near textbook example of the NAACP’s strategy of elevating peripheral issues…and taking minimal action on the piles of crisis that devastate poor and working class black communities.”
Here is my complaint--it's not with Clinton, it's with our nation's inability to adequately examine this issue. I understand politics as well as the next person. I know that Senator Clinton cannot say what needs to be said about that flag. But when is someone going to be honest? Here is what needs to be told to the the pro-Confederate flag crowd:
"We are truly sorry that your Uncle Cletus died in the Civil War--we understand that he fought gallantly at Bull Run and Gettysburg. But here are the facts—the Confederate flag stands for hatred and racism—it does now; and it always has. It is a symbol of white supremacy and white power. It is a symbol of bigotry and anti-Semitism. The Confederate flag stands as a powerful statement against racial diversity, against communities of color, and against religious minorities. And while not everyone who raises that flag is a racist—that is what that the stars and bars represents. Your ancestors started that war, not for states rights, but to keep humans in bondage. And that fact can never be denied. This is why the Confederate flag should be taken down….and it should be taken down forever.”