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Jun 19 2015

There was quite a bit of controversy recently when Indiana passed a law that looked as if it infringed on the rights of LGBT citizens. There was a mood to boycott Indiana. Organizations like the NCAA weighed in as did businesses. In some minds, even though the original law was amended, the fact that the Indiana legislature passed and the governor signed the original law was evidence that regardless of any backtracking, this is a state to be avoided for tourism, sports, business – boycotted.

Now we get to the Charleston massacre. It’s clear this was a domestic terrorism attack. Here is the FBI’s definition:

"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  •                Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  •                 Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  •                 Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

So we have a domestic terrorist from South Carolina, a state that flies the Confederate Battle Flag at its statehouse. Some thoughts on the flag itself:

“The battle flag was never adopted by the Confederate Congress, never flew over any state capitols during the Confederacy, and was never officially used by Confederate veterans' groups. The flag probably would have been relegated to Civil War museums if it had not been resurrected by the resurgent KKK and used by Southern Dixiecrats during the 1948 presidential election.” Martinez, James Michael; Richardson, William Donald; McNinch-Su, Ron (2000). Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. pp. 284–285. Retrieved 2 April 2015.

“It is no accident that Confederate symbols have been the mainstay of white supremacist organizations, from the Ku Klux Klan to the skinheads.  They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty.  They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals, i.e., “that the negro is not equal to the white man.”  The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate.  But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?” Rhea, Gordon (January 25, 2011). "Why Non-Slaveholding Southerners Fought". Civil War Trust. Civil War Trust. Retrieved March 21, 2011.

This is not just a single law as in Indiana. It’s a pervasive longstanding symbol of discrimination, as repugnant as the apartheid flag patch and the Rhodesia patch the terrorist wore on his jacket. Where is the same censoring of the State of South Carolina (long overdue) for its display of the symbol of slavery? We boycotted South Africa during its apartheid era. How about South Carolina?

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