For any American who follows politics, it would be mentally taxing and an exercise in futility to cite the last time any Republican uttered the truth. It is not that it is impossible for a Republican to tell the truth, but honesty and candor is just not any part of being a Republican pathological liar. However, on Sunday a South Carolina member of the United States Senate actually did something mind boggling and inadvertently uttered a very truthful statement regarding the Confederate flag at the center of a fair amount of debate. Lindsey Graham was attempting to explain why South Carolinians love their symbol of white supremacy and treason against the United States when he said of the Confederate flag, “it’s who we are.” Whether Graham knew it or not, and it is highly likely he did, when he said “we” he meant racists, traitors, and anti-Americans across the former Confederacy, the Republican Party, and of course mass murderer who killed nine innocent African Americans, Dylann Roof.
After images emerged of murderous Confederate Dylann Roof posing with the symbol of “who we are,” there has been a steady call for South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. The pressure and negative publicity finally incited to South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley to announce it was time to remove the symbol of hate and treason. In her press conference, Haley acknowledged that ‘some people’ felt the white supremacist symbol was inappropriate and sought to praise the sentiment behind flying the flag above the Stars and Stripes she ordered lowered to half-mast. Haley said, “The (Confederate) flag stands for traditions that are noble—traditions of history, of heritage, and of ancestry. The hate-filled murderer in no way reflects the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it. Those South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity, and duty. They also see it as a way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. That is not hate. Nor is it racism.”
Haley is so full of bovine excrement and desperate to sate the hate of racist Confederates that she thought pretending to honor a symbol of white supremacy is not racist, and dared characterize racist traitors waging war against their country as honorable people coming to the service of their state. They were not serving their state, they were trying to destroy the United States of America to preserve owning dark-skinned human beings and to any real American that is not honorable, it is white supremacy and treason.
It is also a sentiment that persists in 2015 throughout the former Confederacy that, if not making blatant calls for secession and a second Civil War, is attempting to nullify federal laws enacted because Americans elected an African American man as President; something that Republicans as a group cannot countenance and spent the past six years trying to undo. It is why when Lindsey Graham said the Confederate flag “is who we are,” he meant racist Republicans and teabaggers as much as he meant South Carolinians and racist conservatives living in states still loyal to the treasonous Confederacy.
Nearly a week after a true and loyal Confederate racist brutally murdered nine innocent African Americans worshipping in a building they assumed was a safe sanctuary from Confederates, and after several days of negative publicity and pressure, both Governor Haley and Senator Graham suddenly think that maybe a symbol of treason and racism is not playing well with decent Americans. However, in the past, both Governor Haley and Graham defended keeping the racist flag in a prominent position atop the South Carolina state house.
In 2000 in the New York Times Lindsey Graham said, “There is a guy out there named Bubba. He grew up when public schools got integrated. He goes to work every day. There are women and African-Americans in the workplace and he’s fine with that, but he thinks the whole world is against him and has rights he doesn’t have. He thinks the flag is the last thing he has going for him and he’s not going to take it down. I don’t want to step on Bubba’s feelings. There are no groups sticking up for the Bubbas of the world.”
For the past six years with an African American man as President, Republicans and other racist white supremacist groups have been sticking up for the racist Bubbas in America and their efforts were repaid last week when a typical Southern “Bubba” named Dylann Roof who viewed the Confederate flag as “the last thing going for him” shot and killed nine African Americans that many, many Confederate racists are “fine with,” or they would not defend flying a flag denoting white supremacy and treason.
Graham was not alone in defending the Confederate symbol of racist hate and treason against the United States. In November 1999, then-state Sen. Joe (you lie) Wilson railed against the those who called for removing the traitorous and racist flag saying, “That’s offensive to me that they would take my heritage and make it into a Holocaust era-type description. I find that very offensive, and it’s not true. The Southern heritage, the Confederate heritage is very honorable.” That so-called “honorable” heritage nearly rent America in two, killed over 750,000 Americans, and created a discriminatory environment for African Americans that persists to this day.
Another South Carolina Republican who now serves as the state legislature’s majority leader, State Senator Harvey Peeler, warned that “Race relations will not be the same in this state if you take that flag down, the rebels would yell!” At least Peeler inclined toward denoting the flag as a racist symbol that will not bode well for African Americans if it is removed. He also misrepresented a bunch of current anti-American traitors Peeler chose to call “rebels.” Waging war on the United States of America was beyond a “rebellion,” it was an active and incredibly despicable attempt to destroy the nation, and that “enemy” flag, as Republican and South Carolinian Lindsey Graham rightly said “is who we are.”
It is telling that the so-called proud Southern heritage of racism and treason that flag represents is being vigorously defended by The Sons of Confederate Veterans. The descendants of racist white supremacists and traitors are rallying to preserve the presence of the Confederate flag on South Carolina’s state capitol on Facebook. Even as decent, non-racist Americans are expressing their abject disgust that many Southerners, and nearly all Republicans, are defending and clinging to a symbol of treason, anti-American sentiment, and racism, neo-Confederates are glorifying the reminder of the South’s shame in the aftermath of a Confederate’s shooting spree that killed nine African Americans in their place of worship.
What most Southern pride Confederates cannot accept is decent Americans expecting them to do what would be considered “honorable and dignified” as American citizens; admit that South Carolina and the Confederate states were wrong to secede in the defense of slavery, wrong in waging a treasonous war of aggression against the United States of America, and despicably racist in raising the Confederate flag in 1962 as a defiant response to the Civil Rights movement. Sadly, that defiance, white supremacy, and treason still exists throughout the South and the Republican movement that the people electing an African American man as President unwittingly exposed in 2008 and again in 2012.
That flag is not now, and never has been, a symbol of remembrance of the Confederacy’s war dead, or a symbol of noble traditions of history, heritage, or ancestry. It is, in fact, an enduring expression of 19th Century white supremacy and treason, and 20th-century (and counting) racism and outrage against decent Americans who believed in their heart of hearts that African Americans deserve the equality guaranteed to all citizens in the United States Constitution. Americans seldom witness any Republican ever telling the truth or being honest about anything, but on Sunday last whether he realized it or not, Senator Lindsey Graham actually uttered the truth when he said that symbol of racism and treason, the Confederate flag, represents “who we are,” and the “we” are neo-confederate Republicans, teabaggers, and mass murderer Dylann Roof.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.