Strong words from a wise man.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, at the Atlantic, has a modest proposal:
Last night, Dylann Roof walked into a Charleston church, sat for an hour, and then killed nine people. Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag. Visitors to Charleston have long been treated to South Carolina’s attempt to clean its history and depict its secession as something other than a war to guarantee the enslavement of the majority of its residents. This notion is belied by any serious interrogation of the Civil War and the primary documents of its instigators. Yet the Confederate battle flag—the flag of Dylann Roof—still flies on the Capitol grounds in Columbia…
Take down the flag. Take it down now….
The state notoriously “too small for a republic, too large for a lunatic asylum” will not retreat easily, but it will retreat eventually. As will the GOP politicians who’ve done far too much enabling of cheap parochial resentments and lip-service “heritage” defenders. I was not surprised that our own Republican Governor Charlie Baker would mouth cant about “what I would call sort of tradition or something like that,” but I was pleasantly surprised that he had to walk back over his own tongue so quickly…
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker apologized on Thursday for saying South Carolina residents “can make their own call” about flying the Confederate flag outside their state capitol…
Baker, who reached out to Massachusetts’ black community during last year’s election, initially tried to frame the issue as a matter of local government control.
“I like local government,” said Baker, a former selectman in his hometown of Swampscott. “The farther government gets away from the people the more nervous I get about the way it behaves, and my view on stuff like this is that South Carolinians can make their own call.”
He acknowledged what he called the “heated debate that’s gone on over the years down there about that,” but he added, “I do believe that the reason that flag still hangs there is, you know, what I would call sort of tradition or something like that.”
During a second radio interview later Thursday on WBZ-AM radio, Baker walked away from his earlier comments and said “that flag should be gone.”
“I certainly apologize. I did hear from friends of mine who said, ‘Jesus, Charlie, you know, what were you thinking?'” Baker said….
Peoples’ Republic Commonwealth is not the Heritage Heartland. But we do have our own deplorable history of racist behavior… and a parallel history of being a bellwether for social change.
Two Years Ago, The Supreme Court Said There Isn’t Enough Racism To Justify The Voting Rights Act http://t.co/5CrMIBfEIu
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) June 18, 2015
— Andon's Dad™ (@BrewStudNo1) June 18, 2015
This church shooting in Charleston would be at least the 142nd mass shooting in America in 2015.
— Greg Tepper (@Tepper) June 18, 2015
Why is it the people who cry loudest about American exceptionalism are willing to accept the perpetual violence of a war torn backwater?
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) June 18, 2015