Call your legislators, urge them to get flag down ASAP

your legislator

This passage in Cindi’s editorial yesterday gigged me to take action:

Gov. Haley’s call to action was an important step, but it was a mere first step. Our legislators voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to allow themselves to engage this issue this summer. But with every passing day, they will hear from more constituents whose hearts have not been changed by the horror of last week, who want no change.

They must hear from us. Like Gov. Haley, we must be respectful of those who revere the flag. Like the governor, we must be firm in our insistence that it be retired to a museum, and done so in a way that brings us all together…

So I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before — having been a professional observer, and not a participant. I called my senator and my representative, Nikki Setzler and Kenny Bingham, to let them know how proud I am, as a constituent, to see them working to move the flag.

I didn’t reach either of them immediately, but left voicemails for both. Kenny called me back later, and I repeated my fervent support for his commitment to getting the flag down, and urged him to call on me if there is anything I can do to help him in this effort in the coming days.

In order to be able to help readers who don’t know who represents them (which would put them in the category of most people), before calling I went through the exercise of using the “Find your legislators” engine on the State House website, and I share it now.

I urge each of you to take the five or ten minutes to call your senator and your representative, and let them know where you stand, and that you care. Because the usual pattern in this sort of situation is that they hear mostly from the people who are angry about what’s happening. So do what you can to counterbalance that.

12 thoughts on “Call your legislators, urge them to get flag down ASAP

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    And I’d appreciate it if, as you DO speak to your senators and representatives, you’d come back here and share with us what it was like…

  2. David Carlton

    Would they pay attention to an expat who’s also a southern historian (Lacy Ford and Walter Edgar can vouch for me)?

      1. David Carlton

        After 32 years? When I was growing up they’d still be there (They stayed in forever back then), but I think times have changed. The only thing I’d have going for me is a lifetime of teaching, writing, study, and reflection on these issues–guess that’s not enough.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh, I think it’s enough. Just pick out some key people — say, Speaker Lucas, Majority Leader Kenny Bingham — tell them who you are and that you support what they’re doing.

          And tell them you’re willing to help. They might well see the need for some academic support as the debate is engaged…

      1. David Carlton

        Actually, I’d nominate my old friend Lacy Ford for the job, as he has better local cred. I’ll check with him, though; we’ve collaborated before.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Or Mark Smith, but he’s always too busy. He knows the Plessy v. Ferguson stuff–the real sin is not owning slaves, frankly; it’s the systematic subjugation of freed blacks.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No to dismiss the sin of slavery, but yes: The postwar period was when the American brand of racism was invented, and deliberately imposed.

  3. Margaret Pridgen (Maggie)

    Thanks, Brad. I’ve just commented on the Gov’s FB page, will call my legislators and working on a letter. As the great-great grand-daughter of a Confederate veteran, I am particularly insulted by the idea that the dreaded “outsiders” are stirring this up again!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And as the great-great grandson of at least five Confederate veterans (according to my uncle; I haven’t researched it that closely and can only name two), I’m with you.

      I was born here, three-fourths of my family tree is from here (the Warthen fourth is from Maryland, but still below the Mason-Dixon line), and I’ve been fighting to get the thing down ever since I first had license to publicly express opinions (when I joined the editorial board in 1994 — before that, I was professionally required to be silent and neutral).

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