Just now I was cleaning up the storage card on my Blackberry (a.k.a., my Double-Naught Spy Camera), and I ran across this shot I took at the intersection of Main and Gervais at 1:17 p.m. Saturday.
This was the huge rally to support the Confederate flag on the North lawn of the State House.
What rally, you ask? Well, it’s right there in front of you. Look about 50 feet past the monument — see that knot of flags back there? All clumped up together? What you can’t see too well in this low-res photo is that they are all massed together in front of a camera, with the State House steps behind them, trying to make it look on camera as though the lawn is just PACKED with Confederate flag supporters. At least, that’s what it looked like was happening from where I was. Maybe there was something else on that tripod, I don’t know.
Best part of this picture? I think, based on his comments here, that that’s our own Michael Rodgers counterdemonstrating in the foreground (in the red shirt), being confronted by what I think is a counter-counter-demonstrator, but I didn’t stick around to find out, because the light turned green.
In my day, I’ve seen some flag rallies. I’ve seen some pretty big pro-flag gatherings, that fairly filled the space before the steps, with re-enactors and all sorts of pomp — groups numbering three or four thousand. And of course, I’ve seen the historic King Day at the Dome in 2000, when 60,000 gathered to say take it down.
And therefore, I can say without fear of contradiction, this was pathetic.
What’s the “crowd” estimate? 20, 30? Couldn’t form a descent sized company with that group. Perhaps not a platoon.
Just another reminder that the Confederate flag is a dead issue and that South Carolina is way past moving on with the life of our state.
So you’ve presented the flag supporters, how many flag protesters showed up?
The way I see it, it’s like rallying for free speech, it’s already a done deal, so why rally for it?
Okay reread your post. 20-pro, 1-anti. Seems to me few really care one way or the other.
I find it interesting that the pro-flag people are over by the African American monument….
and you go, Michael Rodgers
No, Kathryn — they’re not that far away. You’re assuming they are, because they take up such a small part of the image. Actually, they are closer to the Confederate soldier monument than to the African-American one.
“I didn’t stick around to find out, because the light turned green…”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is editorial judgment at its finest. This is why newspapers don’t provide “equal space” to fringe candidates.
Anyone who’s proud that their ancestor was willing to fight to the death for the right of owning human beings, well, dude, that’s FRINGE.
It turns out that the neo-Confederate group holding the rally is a white nation group and that one of the speakers was Kirk Lyons.
Brad, just curious… why did you write that this was a “huge, gigantic, enormous” rally? Before you mentioned it, I had never even heard about it, which makes me think that it wasn’t anything more than something you stumbled across as you drove through town and decided to slam a group of people who don’t have the same flag beliefs as you and Michael Rodgers. Is this just another example of Brad’s right and everyone else who opposes his ideals is wrong?
If this was supposed to have been a “huge, gigantic, enormous” rally they need to find a new spokesman because I don’t recall ever hearing about this like I did say for the MLK rally in 2000. BTW – how did that rally turn out, 60,000 showed up and nothing changed… so it was nothing more than a waste of time for those participants and a waste of city and county resources.
You might as well have written a piece about the massive, near riot stage, counter-demonstration opposing the flag supporters.
But, in the end, it was nothing more than a waste of time for 21-22 people who had nothing better to do on a hot Saturday afternoon. Nothing was accomplished, nothing was proven, other than a piece in your blog it was never mentioned in the media… complete waste of time for both sides. Which is typical for demonstrations.
OK, so you’re not a homosexual. But you’re from New York. What’s the diff? (Y’all do say that up there, right — what’s the diff?)
You’re splittin’ hairs here, Bubba.
Michael P., it’s called “irony.” Beyond that, it’s called editorial comment. This is an opinion blog.
But you and I have one thing in common: Generally speaking, I tend to view demonstrations with disdain. Sorry, Michael R. — I appreciate your courage. But MOST demonstrations generate more heat than light. I see your blog as a more useful factor.
One of the organizers and participants of the rally, Hunter Wallace, accosted me and filmed the encounter while I was protesting the rally.
For the record, I was born in New York and raised in Atlanta, GA (actually Tucker, GA — a suburb of Atlanta). I have lived in Columbia for almost 6 years. And I am not a homosexual.
Watched the video, if that’s being “accosted” then someone has some thin skin. It sounded more like an interview from someone who didn’t have anything but canned answers. If one puts himself into that situation, he should expect to be confronted and questioned by the people he’s opposing.
Do these one man protests need a permit to protest or assemble? I’m sure the flag supporters had to file paperwork for permission to assemble on statehouse grounds. Maybe Michael will be the next person kicked off the property, then he can go protest next to Maurice’s in Cayce along side the dead baby guy who got the boot a few years ago.
My dictionary has this definition for “accost”: to approach and speak to often in a challenging or aggressive way.
I think that is an apt description of those guys tone in the video.
I watched the video and I visited that guys website and now I feel kind of sick. Those people are scary as all-get-out.
I knew those people existed but I manage to avoid being confronted by their scariness that often.
The most unsettling part is the almost certainty that no rational argument will ever reach them. But I tend to be an optimist so I won’t say never.
Michael, I respect your tenacity. Even if some don’t see the use of protests, they have their place.
I think they all get a play book…
Please keep in mind that 1 rebel is worth 10 yanks.
I couldn’t get Michael Rodgers’ video to play all the way through but I perceive his “Fly our SC Flag” needs a little work.
I read Kathryn’s link. All I can say is, “What?!”
There’s that American Exceptionalism at work.
“Don’t count me among those embarrassed by SC Politics” by Andrew Dys
@Pat– The Republicans at the Kagan confirmation hearings are trying to discredit Elena Kagan on the basis of where she lives–code for “Jewish liberal”–and who she worked for Justice Thurgood Marshall–a civil rights activist and hero. These are akin to ad hominem attacks–the latter isn’t even attacking her personally but someone else and then sticking it to her. It’s all coded, too. Jew and blacks are not “real” Americans. Michael Rodgers was attacked based on where he is presumed to be from and his presumed sexual orientation–not the content of his argument. The opposing argument is that “people from away who are not macho men have no right to speak.”
How American is that?
To quote another famous Graham – The Rev. Billy Graham – The most serious problem in the world today is racism.
Thanks Kathryn for the tie-in. The questioning/comments from the panel are so ridiculous. I posted this about Sen Graham – http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/29/graham-the-gentleman-at-kagan-hearings.html – in another place but it is appropriate here. Sen Graham is a Republican to be sure but reasonable; he’s political but also a problem-solver and goal oriented. I don’t think racism when he is involved. The rest of these people – it’s like they are fearful, arrogant, spoiled, self-centered all rolled up into one – that crowd mentality again. I guess we will always have this fringe element among us but they surely are loud and, for now anyway, seem to be multiplying.