Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Battle Flag

South Carolinian David Beasley ordered the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the top of the South Carolina capitol dome to a place nearby on the capitol grounds, reversing previous decades of intransigence on this issue within the state where the American Civil War first began [in 1861], during his one term as governor (1995-1999). In 2003, Beasley was given the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) for his unpopular decision to remove the Confederate flag from atop the South Carolina capitol. Beasley’s decision was partially to blame for his failure to win reelection in his home state.

The flag now rests in a place of proper contextual prominence on the statehouse grounds, given its historical significance. However the flag issue continues to generate much cultural division both in and out of South Carolina; but it is particularly sad to see protests staged about this matter on Martin Luther Kings birthday.

Rather than take the day to recognize the late civil rights leaders positive achievements, NAACP leaders annually revisit the capitol to push for "total" removal of this emblem of the Confederacy. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples continues a tragic slide towards marginalization in far worse ways, but their faulty perception of the battle flags relevance to MLK's observed holiday is unfortunate.

The long fought for federal holiday could be better served, than simply used as a platform for continued argument. Like it or lump it, the Civil War and its emblems can't just be "whitewashed" out of existence and individuals or groups who choose to be offended or outraged ad infinitem, have more than demonstrated that they can't be appeased.

Even when the right thing was done by Gov. Beasley years ago.

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