In the aftermath of last week’s awful shooting, there has been an intense debate over America, racism and, of course, the Confederate flag.
That was accompanied by Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor, stepping forward and calling for the flag to be removed from the state capitol. Then other South Carolina politicians (nearly all of them Republicans) saying, “Oh, craps. I guess I’ve gotta call for the flag to be removed, too.” Then national politicians saying, “If South Carolina is doing this, it’s gonna become a major issue. So we better take down our flags and statues.” Then corporations saying, “If South Carolina is doing this, and national politicians are doing this, then we better stop selling Confederate flags ASAP.”
It was all as predictable as the apple filling in the middle of a diner pie, as was this image—Haley hugging a rainbow coalition of (strategically placed) clergy, leaders, etc. Trust me, you’ll see the picture again and again and again in her campaign ads for either the presidency in 2020 or the vice presidency in 2016. Nikki Haley: Leadership.
But here’s the thing … it’s all nonsense. Theater. Show. Yes, the Confederate flag symbolizes many awful things, and should have died in a Mississippi battlefield the moment the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. In this case, however, the flag serves a political purpose that offers folks like Haley and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Tennessee governor Bill Haslam a convenient and impactful way to distract from the real issue here. Which, of course, is gun violence in America.
Guns are out of control. Out. Of. Control. You know it, I know it, liberals know it, conservatives know it. In the aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre (26 murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School), it seemed as if this nation was finally ready to tackle our firearms problem, and figure out a way to make certain guns were both less accessible, and less accessible to people incapable of making sound decisions. It was the moment, and while the tragedy was unbearable and heart-breaking, at least some morsel of good would surely come from it.
Alas, we did nothing.
So here we are in 2015, and a deranged 21-year-old man walked into a church in Charleston and murdered nine innocent people with a 45-caliber Glock handgun he legally purchased a couple of days earlier. Yes, Dylann Roof had been arrested four months earlier for possessing Suboxone, a controlled substance commonly used to treat heroin addiction. But because that case was pending, hey, he could walk into any South Carolina gun shop and buy any South Carolina gun. Gotta protect that Second Amendment!
But, no, guns aren’t the issue here. Not at all. It’s all about the damned flag, which clearly caused Roof to enter the church and shoot people. That flag holds a hypnotic sway over the masses, causing otherwise sane and decent individuals to pick up otherwise soft and fluffy firearms and discharge them into the skulls of innocents. So, thank goodness, we finally have politicians brave enough to tackle the one challenge that continues to cause unspeakable tragedy to so many …
A fucking piece of fabric.