I stumbled across this during a recent internet search regarding the ongoing Confederate flag fiasco in Columbia. Seems the South Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, in their newsletter, The Legionary, felt obliged to comment upon my 2006 letter to the editor of The State newspaper calling for the flag’s removal from the State House grounds. In all fairness, I thought I’d post the entirety of their article here:
“A Fraternal Organization of Southern Men”
A Publication of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton Camp #273
Columbia, S.C. www.wadehamptoncamp.org
What passes for informed discussion in The State newspaper very much depends on the viewpoint of the author. Take, for instance, a letter to the editor which appeared
earlier this month. Alan Piercy of Columbia employed 360 words to put forth his view that while he considers the Confederate flag “sacrosanct and beautiful,’’ it’s time to take it down because it offends others. Of course, The State is only too happy to let this scalawag babble forth because his opinion agrees with the paper’s long-standing desire to eradicate the banner.
Now, if The State cared one iota about logic, reasoning and intelligence – things you might think a sizeable daily newspaper would be interested in promoting – it would have ensured Mr. Piercy’s letter never saw the light of day. It would have buried the letter not because its view is unpopular with many folks, but because it’s so poorly thought out. Consider: In Mr. Piercy’s opening paragraph he says “I am as proud a Southerner as you will ever find, and while the banner to me is sacrosanct and beautiful,’’ because it was misused by others later, it’s time to remove it from the State House grounds. (Mr. Piercy, of course, fails to mention that hate groups such as the Klan also misused the American flag.) He continues, “… for the African-American community in South Carolina, some 30 percent of the population, the flag … represents menacing bands of robed Klansmen – thugs eager to flex their collective muscle, yet too cowardly to show their faces. It represents a system of separate but equal, a concept so full of lies in the Jim Crow South that it would be laughable were it not so tragic. It represents fear and oppression and cruelty.’’
Yes, to some blacks the Confederate flag does unfortunately represent some very unpleasant images, but don’t think for a second that all blacks see the flag the same way.
That’s simplistic and demeaning to 30 percent of our state’s population, some of whom
undoubtedly don’t think much of anything of the flag, just as there are plenty of whites who have no impression either way. And, yes, there are even a few blacks who have a positive view of the flag, particularly those with ancestors who sided with the South during the war.
Mr. Piercy’s next error is his statement that “the flag never even appeared on our venerable State House grounds until the mid 1960s,’’ and that it was “clearly a thinly veiled protest over pending civil rights legislation.’’ The flag went atop the State House dome in 1962. Some time earlier, President Dwight Eisenhower had urged the flying of the banner over state capitols in anticipation of the centennial of the War Between The States.
Let’s not pretend that there weren’t some serious efforts underway in parts of the South
to undermine the civil rights push, but I don’t recall Ol’ Ike being a part of it.
Mr. Piercy adds: “To make matters worse for those of us who love it, our Confederate banner has been bastardized by racists who have pilfered it and distorted its meaning to fit their own twisted agenda.’’ But isn’t this exactly what he’s doing by saying
that a) it represents the Klan, Jim Crow, oppression and cruelty, and b) that it offends all
of South Carolina’s blacks? Strange words for a man who claims to love the flag.
Mr. Piercy closes by writing that South Carolina needs to remove the flag because it’s the“right thing.’’ The right thing? Says who? If he were such as proud Southerner, he’d stand up to defend his heritage, instead of penning a mealy-mouthed diatribe that besmirches the banner he claims is beautifu.Mr. Piercy sounds like one of those weakkneed self-loathing intellectuals who happily attacks anything Southern if it gets him a few points with his wine-sipping, cheese-eating fellow travelers. If he wants to do so, that’s his right as an American but he shouldn’t try to portray himself as a proud Southerner.
* * * * *
Interesting. After weeding through the petty insults – (always the first arrow out of the quiver for those attempting to dignify weak arguments) – it appears the author’s main points in this rebuttal are 1) While some unreasoning blacks may harbor ill feelings toward the Confederate Banner, most love it dearly. ~ and ~ 2) Dwight D. Eisenhower encouraged Southern states to fly the Confederate Banner in recognition of the upcoming Centennial of the Civil War.
Yes, I failed to mention the fact that black South Carolinians, from Pickens to Beaufort and all points in between, often clamor in sweet reverie around the flag at Main and Gervais to give thanks that their ancestors experienced the singular pleasantness of slavery and warm afterglow of Jim Crow. And I’m sure that President Eisenhower (who hailed from the “Free State” of Kansas, mind you), harbored a burning desire to see the Confederate Banner flying in perpetuity. It all makes sense now.
In light of those arguments, I guess the insults really were the best part of that article.