Don’t think unkindly of our lawmakers

You may have gotten the unflattering impression that our state lawmakers refuse to find the time to deal with the Confederate flag and its implications for our state.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and I hereby apologize for having created such a scurrilous illusion.

I had intended to go over and check out the activities at the Statehouse this morning, and didn’t get away before midday. At about that time a colleague returned from that august edifice, and I asked her what was going on this afternoon, thinking I might still go.

"They’re going home," she said, looking at me rather blankly.

But this is Wednesday, I protested. They don’t go home until tomorrow.

"Tomorrow is Confederate Memorial Day," she reminded me.

Our lawmakers aren’t too busy for the flag at all, you see. They’ve been so efficient in addressing all of our state’s legitimate needs that they could take off the whole day in order to honor the flag and all that it stands for. And, oh yes, pay all those thousands of state employees not to work tomorrow, either.

So don’t think they don’t have their priorities straight or anything.

17 thoughts on “Don’t think unkindly of our lawmakers

  1. SGM (ret.)

    A pox on the lot of ’em.
    They run our state like some backward third world country. I hope while they’re home for Confederate Memorial Day, that they choke on their barbequed “dog on a stick.” (Sorry, I’m in Thailand right now and that’s one of the delicacies sold off the back of the cyclo-grills.)
    By the way, why don’t the “law makers” who “righteously object” to the Confederate battle flag stay at the State House working as a form of protest? Hmmm? I’m guessing that their usual over-riding self-interest will win out and they’ll all be home.
    Maybe a coup? Seems to be the way they handle such things in the third world. ‘Could work for us too.
    Oh wait, that’s right, the state’s National Guard is led by a politician, too. On second though, well… maybe…

  2. ed

    Actually, the less time these chuckleheads spend in session dreaming up ways to tax, spend and limit freedom, the better I like it. Maybe they have some prayers scheduled for flagpoles that they just have to get to, and need a day off for it. These public flagpole prayer and oyster roast things really make a lot of difference, you know. Ed

  3. Randy E

    It’s a STATE holiday for confederate day but for CAROLINA Day it’s not a STATE holiday?
    Why didn’t we remove the state flag from atop the dome instead of the beloved confederate flag?

  4. ed

    It’s interesting to me that the confederate flag was put atop the dome in the sixties by a huge liberal democrat, whose name escapes me at the moment. Now, I think most of the folks who want to keep it there are conservatives and most of those who want it gone are liberals. Go figure. Ed

  5. Brad Warthen

    Ed, everyone was a Democrat in those days. I’d like to know of whom you’re thinking, because I wasn’t aware we had any liberal running things back then.
    Surely you’re not thinking of Fritz Hollings? He was only the governor, and the governor back then was even less powerful than they are now, which is saying a lot.
    The Legislature called ALL the shots back then, and the top dog in the Legislature at the time was Edgar Brown, who had been president pro tempore of the Senate (the office Glenn McConnell holds today) since 1942. An oft-told story of those days, that illustrates the balance of power: Hollings’ great achievement as governor was the establishment of our technical colleges, which to this day are one of the few great advantages our state has in economic development (as much as anything, it’s why BMW came to Greer).
    You know how that came about? Fritz went to see Sen. Brown with a bottle of whiskey, and they sat drinking while Fritz made his pitch, and when the bottle was empty, it had been decided that we’d have a system of tech schools. Before that (as I recall), Sen. Brown had not been so inclined.

  6. Bill B.

    Just burns you up doesn’t it Brad. Tell me, does your foot ever get sore from kicking this dead horse? You’re beginning to sound a bit like a broken record… too bad nobody who has any authority in the issue gives a damn what you think.
    BTW – I enjoyed my day off, how was your day staring into a computer monitor all day?

  7. ed

    And your point is…? Democrats put the flag up then. Republicans want to keep it up now. Isn’t that what I said? I don’t know about how great the tech school system is so I don’t know how much credit Hollings deserves…to me it all seems part of the larger “public education morass” that we have today in this state. But again, what do I know? In any case, Hollings always seemd to me to epitomize the old school, foghorn leghorn type fatcat liberal. I could never really understand anything he said, which actually turned out to be a not-so-bad thing. He is anathema to everything I believe in and hold dear, but I will tell you this: I’d vote for him before I’d ever cast another vote for Lindsey “The Snake” Graham. Ed

  8. Michael Rodgers

    Having and celebrating Confederate Memorial Day is good, because it is good to honor the sacrifice of the Confederate soldiers and their families. We can also honor the sacrifice of the Union soldiers and their families on Confederate Memorial Day. And we can visit the Statehouse and see the Confederate Memorial. All of this is good.
    Now what about the Confederate flag? Why should it be flying from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds? It is there because our legislators put it there, not because there is some artistic reason. It is there to send a political message*; it is not there to honor the Confederate soldiers. If it speaks at all about the soldiers, it says, to me, that they died in vain because they didn’t win. I do not believe that they died in vain. I honor their sacrifice and thank them and their families.
    The entire US is better for having fought the Civil War. We have now the 13th-15th amendments and the Emancipation Proclamation, and many other things that resulted from the Civil War. We are more united as a country. The historian Shelby Foote said that before people said “The United States are …” and now people say “The United States is …” Makes sense to me.
    *Everyone can argue about what the political message is, who hears it, who transforms it into something else, etc., etc. My point is that the Confederate Memorial is a memorial, not a canvas for the legislature to draw political messages on.
    Michael Rodgers
    Columbia, SC

  9. Phillip Sylvester

    If the Confederate flag was removed from the place of honor it deserves, what would be next? If the flag was destroyed and the state of South Carolina would beg forgiveness for any wrongs ever done in the world these same people would not be happy. They would find something else to cry about. The people of South Carolina need to worry about real problems. I don’t hear anyone calling attention to teachers (male and female) having sex with our children, Coaches from our colleges recuiting and backing students who break the law, the DOT spending millions of dollars for nothing, Columbia having the wrost drivers in the nation, and our school system being the worst in the country. People talk about businesses not coming to SC because of the flag, it is not the flag keeping them away.

  10. Phillip

    I am at the airport so I will have to type fast. I couldn’t agree more. All of the probs. that you write about stem from one thing…ignorance and to me and alot of other folks both in SC and other places, the confederate battle flag symbolizes ignorance. Not wanting to progress toward the future and staying stuck in the ways of the past is ignorant.
    The things you write about are ignorance to the law and ignorance of ethics. Both societal problems. Again, I agree with you that these need to be fixed, however look at North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennesee, Alabama, and Mississipi. These are all our siblings in the now deceased confederacy. They have all publicly apologized for the role they played in slavery and have taken down their confederate flags to be inclusive to ALL of their citizens. Alabama was the first to do it and is now the new detroit with close to 10 automotive plants and hundreds of tier 1 and tier 2 automotive suppliers. Thousands upon thousands of families now have high paying skilled jobs in the automotive and relative industry. The median income for these families is close to 75000 dollars. I know that my family cares more about saving for our children’s college education than saving a confederate flag. Because in the next 16 years…there is not going to be a real guarantee of a lottery scholarship for any of south carolina’s children. By the way, that includes the “free” tuition for tech schools and who do you think provides the real training for all of those big manufacturing plants in South Carolina?
    Enjoy your weekend, I will be touching down at LaGuardia at 6:30. I am taking the wife to the Apple for mother’s day.

  11. Karen McLeod

    Us state employees used to have a ‘personal day’ and election days off. But when the MLK holiday came into being some set of idiots decided it had to be balanced with a holiday on the other side. I know they wouldn’t say ‘racist’ but I see no other way to to consider it if you have to “balance” MLK. So they took away both of the personal day and election day to give us the 2 present ones. Perhaps they wanted to discourage those of us who think the Confederate Memorial Day holiday is absurd from voting???

  12. Michael Rodgers

    The Confederate flag deserves to be in a museum. It has no business being flown by our legislature from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds, supposedly as a part of a memorial to the Confederate soldiers.
    The Confederate flag was added to the memorial as a political statement by our legislature. I am not alone when I say that I am offended by the political statement that I think the legislators were making. I will be very happy when such statements are history.
    We should get our current legislature to take the flag down from the flagpole and put it in a museum. Take down the flag; there’s nothing next but progress.
    Michael Rodgers
    Columbia, SC

  13. Tom

    The Confederate flag deserves to be in a museum. It has no business being flown by our legislature from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds, supposedly as a part of a memorial to the Confederate soldiers.
    There is nothing unusual about flags being placed at memorials.
    The Confederate flag was added to the memorial as a political statement by our legislature.
    What “political” statement?

  14. Michael Rodgers

    1) I find that flying the Confederate flag from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds to be unusual, to say the least. Citizens do place US flags at memorials. Placing and flying from a flagpole are different, and flags represent governments. A commission (which should include artists and historians) should study what people usually do and what artists recommend and what historical symbols are appropriate for the Confederate Memorial on the Statehouse grounds. I expect such a commission to hear from the public at many open forums, and I encourage real debate this issue.
    2) Flying a flag from a flagpole is a political act. By deciding to fly the Confederate flag from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds, our legislature makes many political statements, the first of which is that they are the deciders of the artistic nature and historical appropriateness of all memorials on the Statehouse grounds. Second, they say that they don’t want to have any debate about the appropriateness of flying the Confederate flag from a flagpole on the Statehouse grounds. Third, they say that it is a compromise to have an African-American Memorial and a Confederate Memorial and that the Confederate Memorial is only a true compromise if it features the flying of the Confederate flag from a flagpole. Relatedly, the legislature says that Confederate Memorial Day must be declared if MLK Day is declared. This “one for us” and “one for them” mentality is a political statement, urging South Carolina citizens to think in terms of divisiveness. I expect more from our legislature.
    Ask yourself and your friends and neighbors and colleagues and read what people say in the papers and the blogs and all over to find out what people hear from this act by our legislature. Some people hear that South Carolina is officially unwelcoming to anyone who doesn’t currently support the SC Declaration of Secession. Some people hear that South Carolina is officially racist and ignorant. Other people hear that South Carolina is officially declaring war on the United States of America, but keeping it quiet until the time is right, someday, when secession might be more popular. Still others hear that South Carolina officially wants to live in the past and ignore the needs of today and tomorrow. And finally others hear that South Carolina is officially doing the least it can to show its respect for “heritage,” which is apparently such a fragile concept that it requires quelching of all debate and flying flags from flagpoles to truly honor. Personally, I respect and honor the sacrifices of the Confederate soldiers and their families, and I am not fragile about it — take down the flag and put it in a museum, I say. Let’s celebrate Confederate Memorial Day and not keep it quiet!
    When there are questions of what people hear from our legislature, we should be allowed to ask them and discuss our questions in forums. Whenever people are in dialog with each other and with their legislatures, well, that’s what politics is.
    Michael Rodgers
    Columbia, SC

  15. Bill

    Happy Confederate Memorial Day;
    thank God our Legislature came up with this.
    SECTION 16-17-220. Desecration or mutilation of United States, Confederate or State flags. [SC ST SEC 16-17-220]
    Any person who in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall (a) knowingly place or cause to be placed any word, inscription, figure, mark, picture, design, device, symbol, name, characters, drawing, notice or advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, color or ensign of the United States, the Confederate States of America or this State or upon a flag, standard, color or ensign purporting to be such, (b) knowingly display, exhibit or expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, color or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted or otherwise placed or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed or annexed any word, inscription, figure, mark, picture, design, device, symbol, name, characters, drawing, photographs, notice or advertisement of any nature, (c) expose to public view, manufacture, sell, expose for sale, give away or have in possession for sale, to give away, or for use for any purpose, any article or substance, being an article of merchandise or a receptacle of merchandise or article or thing for camping or transporting merchandise upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, color or ensign to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark or distinguish the article or substance on which placed or (d) publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, jeer at, trample upon or cast contempt, either by word or act, upon any such flag, standard, color or ensign shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court, and shall also forfeit a penalty of fifty dollars for each offense, to be recovered with costs in a civil action or suit in any court having jurisdiction. Such action or suit may be brought by and in the name of any citizen of this State, and such penalty when collected, less the reasonable cost and expense of action or suit and recovery to be certified by the clerk of court of the county in which the offense is committed, shall be paid into the State Treasury. Two or more penalties may be sued for and recovered in the same action or suit.
    Deo Vindice

  16. Phillip S

    Let the people vote on the flag. Most legislators are so out of touch with their people they don’t know what the majority wants. I know that most things these days are to suit the minority.


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