SCV presser: The most dramatic example of the human capacity for self-delusion that I have ever seen in my life – Columbia, South Carolina

OK, the really nutty stuff is starting now, with Clementa Pinckney not even in the ground yet.

I just watched the Sons of Confederate Veterans presser on WIS, and I have never in my life seen anyone so completely delusional as this guy who spoke, identified as “Commander” Leland Summers.

Wow. Wow.

The essence is that, as he looks around him at the miraculous things that have happened in the last few days, he sees the precise opposite of what sane people see: Instead of the unprecedented unity and reconciliation that we’ve all seen between black and white, Democrat and Republican, he sees the “race war” that Dylann Roof wanted.

He says that if Roof is seeing any of what’s happening, “He laughs in our faces,” saying “‘Look what I did!'”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I watched the thing live, not having had time to get over to the State House myself. I hope they’re keeping a recorded up to where you can go watch it, because you will witness a technological miracle — somehow, WIS managed to transport a TV camera to an alternative universe, and transmit the video back to this one. First Netflix, now this.

It’s a universe where up is down, right is wrong, left is right. I always thought the Superman comics devoted to the Bizarro world were pretty silly, but we just saw video transmitted from that planet.

And it’s just one completely backward statement after another. For instance, he says “If Sen. Pinckney were here today, he would call for peace and unity,” instead of what we’re seeing.

But fella, that’s exactly what we are seeing. We’re seeing the most profound, heart-warming, soul-enriching display of peace and unity that I ever hope to witness this side of heaven. Where Have You Been?

He calls these magnificent developments “cultural genocide,” saying, “The United States of America is killing itself from the inside out.”

Cue the theme music from “The Twilight Zone.”

If there’s anyone left out there unconvinced that the flag needs to come down — and I know that with Glenn McConnell on board, there can’t be many of you left — please watch this stunning performance, as soon as the recording is available (I’ll embed it here once I see it). You will see just how confused, messed-up, inarticulate, sputtering and irrational the folks who still want the flag to fly truly are. And unless you’re pretty messed-up yourself, you won’t want to have anything to do with that.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow…


49 thoughts on “SCV presser: The most dramatic example of the human capacity for self-delusion that I have ever seen in my life

    1. Perry Stewart

      The SCV lost their moral authority to be able to distance themselves from the more negative aspects of the flag when they teamed up with the Dixiecrats, and approved the use of the flag as a symbol by them and other segregationist groups. It is my understanding that they’ve largely led the fight to stop its use by the Klan.

      It’s very interesting that the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the only group left that could make the claim that they have an unbroken line of reverence for the flag, have a very specific code for how it is to be used, and have over time tried to stop any and all use of the flag outside of their code. Basically, the only pro-flag people on the planet who have the right to even claim that they have no connection to the negative aspects of the flag (whether or not that it matters), have nothing to say.

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    A Tweet from Andy Shain just reminded me that this Summers guy also said “Removing flag would dishonor black Confederate soldiers.”

    Well, golly, we wouldn’t want to offend a handful of luckless dead people who got sucked into a historical anomaly, would we? So to hell with all the millions of LIVING people that the rest of us have been concerned with, right?

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow…

    1. Matt

      Any time I see a claim that black soldiers fought for the Confederacy I think it’s important to point the following out:

      Any claim that a significant number of black soldiers fought freely for the South is simply not true. While some had support roles (like cooking) no blacks were allowed to fight until the very end of the war, and even then, the numbers were very low. There is no evidence to support the claim that a significant number of black soldiers fought bearing arms for the Confederacy. If they existed, they were few and far between.

      Don’t let the spreading of false information go unchecked!

      I haven’t asked Leland for his opinion on this yet.

  2. Matt Bohn

    Given your chosen profession and long experience, your headline speaks volumes. I had to laugh a little though. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You’re right. I’ve seen a lot of irrationality in my career. But this leaps right to the front of the line and takes the prize, and all the other competitors will have to slink away with their heads down, knowing how completely they were shown up by this guy…

  3. Roy Bon

    These folks are destined to live in the past. All the while, the rest of the civilized world wants to transcend these times of social struggle in unity and progress forward or at least attempt to in the face of guys like this and representatives like Chum(p)ley, who couldn’t afford to share a realistic, empathetic thought even if it was hung from a sign around their old red necks.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Hmmm… a lot of lurkers — a moment ago, there were 60 people reading this one post — but not a lot of commenters. Maybe people are waiting for me to embed the video.

    I will, as soon as I can find it somewhere. If one of y’all sees it first, please let me know here or on Twitter

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Sometimes I have to remind myself that there are a lot of people who read this blog beyond the small circle of friends who are frequent commenters. There’s a tendency to think that all that’s going on here is the ongoing conversation in which we engage.

      But this week, I’ve had quite a few people who have come up to me to say they’re enjoying what they’re reading here. And that’s made me go check Google Analytics, and think, “I’ve got to remember this is not some private conversation here…”

  5. Bryan Caskey

    When are we gonna get around to doing something about the “Jefferson-Davis Highway” marker that’s right near there?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Why? Did Dylann Roof pose with a gun and a highway draped around his neck?

      I keep seeing people bring up these irrelevant things. I guess I need to do a separate post on the subject, and explain that “No, taking down the Confederate flag that flies in front of our seat of government is NOT some kind of total war on everything confederate. It is exactly what it looks like — taking down the Confederate flag that flies in front of our seat of government. On account of that being something we should have done long ago. Period.”

      There are two classes of people who keep bringing that up: Conservatives here in SC who fear a “slippery slope,” and culture warriors outside of South Carolina who know nothing about us or our culture or what we deal with here. The flag isn’t flying in front of THEIR capitols, and I don’t much care what kinds of irrelevant tangents they choose to run off on.

      I can tell you right now, I have ZERO interest in going after Confederate monuments or place names or anything else, because NONE of those things mean what the flag at the State House means, which is “We have the power and we’re going to keep doing this, so screw all of y’all; this is not YOUR government.”

      Nothing else says that. That flag screams it.

      I wish I could tell you that I wouldn’t want to remove any other monuments to long-dead people, but I can’t. It continues to be an outrage that Ben Tillman is honored in any way at our State House. As a longtime editor at The State, that one’s kinda personal, even.

      But that has nothing to do with the Confederacy…

  6. Karen Pearson

    This nut job is probably going to explode when he hears about the Supreme Court’s decision supporting Obamacare.

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    Well, since we already had the letter in The State from Eruch Tata, I was primed for this nonsense, but yes, I believe the man needs medication. Delusional.
    If ever there were a result that Dylann Roof would decry, it is the outpouring of reconciliation occasioned by the grace shown by families of his victims and the church members, that has rippled like the effects of a butterfly wing well beyond our borders….peacefully. No war. No Al Sharpton. Just white doves flying from the palmetto tree.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, that’s what I keep hearing from people. Jack Kuenzie of WIS mentioned that to me just yesterday… if only Roof could have anticipated that his rampage would lead to the precise opposite of what he wanted.

      If only he’d had that kind of insight. Then, nine dear people would still be alive…

  8. Karen Pearson

    Is this group getting ready to re-start the Civil War? I don’t see any signs of a “race war” yet. Is he planning on trying to foment one? Does the flying of the confederate flag indicate some form of mental illness? A narcissism so deep it borders on sociopathy?

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Well, they are passing an “anti-Westboro Baptist” ordinance, so that may take care of any other agitators.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Haven’t seen the text of the ordinance, but I’m guessing that may not be constitutional. (Not defending WBC, just pointing out legalities.)

  9. David Carlton

    Since you remark on the presence of us lurkers, let me chime in to say that you’ve been my go-to blog site for these astounding developments. Lots of us expats in Nashville are cheering you on. This is the most heartening news from home I’ve seen in years, and the solidarity and compassion with which South Carolinians have been embracing each other over this makes my heart swell. It’s even made me feel kindly toward Nikki Haley; I’ve actually been defending her in the left blogosphere from people attacking her for coming to this position too late, or only doing so because of outside pressure, or–God only knows–she’s a red-state Republican, and you’re never supposed to say anything nice about a red-state Republican. I’m sure I’ll go back to disliking her soon enough, but she’s doing the Lord’s work right now–as are the legislative Republicans for whom the loss of a friend has led them toward Damascus.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, you’re not a lurker, professor! You’re a fairly frequent contributor…

      And you’re absolutely right — I keep seeing people trying to diminish the credit accruing to Nikki for what she’s doing. Are they NUTS? Do they not realize that we should be praising her to the skies, and giving her all the support we possibly can?

      Too many times, people have stepped out on the flag only to back away when the wave of negativity hit them. David Beasley is the most dramatic example of that. Nikki and the other leaders who stood up Monday are going to be hit by a huge amount of hostile resistance. The least the rest of us could do would be to try to counterbalance that with encouragement…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I just went over to the governor’s Facebook page — we know she sets great store by Facebook — and she’s taking flak there.

        So I left this message:

        God bless you, Nikki! And hang in there — don’t let the haters get you down. You’re going to hear from a lot of them, just as everyone who has the courage to act on this does. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help you as you lead us into a better future together, please don’t hesitate to ask.

        1. Phillip

          while most of the direct comments on Haley’s website page are negative about the decision, if you look closely you’ll see that most of those comments in turn have generated 200, 300 replies, the vast majority of those rejecting the Confederate “denialists,” “revisionists,” or whatever term you want to apply. The point being that there are many more voices supporting the removal of the flag.

  10. Daniel Craig

    Greetings from St. Pete, Florida, aka a “lurker”. I watched the entire speech. That’s 29 minutes of my life I can never get back. I did develop a tremendous thirst when the Heineken beer truck drove by in the background. I’m puzzled why the news media would even give a venue to that KFC Colonel Sanders character and my heart goes out to his misguided granddaughter and son. However, I chime in to simply say thank you for your insightful discussions regarding a hugely important issue. For five years in the mid-2000s I would look out my office window on the 15th floor across the street and shake my head wondering why that flag wasn’t at least on the far side or in the back of the SC state capitol. Stay strong South Carolina.

  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    The FACT that these guys are delusional simply is not a matter of opinion.

    A couple of times this week, I’ve seen them claim that the flag has “absolutely no link” to what Dylann Roof did.

    Umm… Photos exist that show Dylann Roof posing with the Confederate flag and a gun, accompanying words that explain why he was going to do what he did.

    Now, you can argue, if you don’t mind being on the receiving end of well-deserved derision (which is obviously not something that deters these guys), that that is not a significant connection. But there simply is NOT a case to be made, in light of those pictures, for “absolutely no” connection.

    Not opinion. Fact…

  12. Burl Burlingame

    Why take down the flag? Because flags aren’t just things, they’re symbols.

    Why take down the flag NOW? Because it’s something that’s actually do-able.

  13. Mary Lou Bethune

    Did you notice that they are fat as well as deluded. Are these the one who were supposed to be 30,000 who will fight for the Confederate flag? Can you see that happening with those ridiculous fatties?
    The White patriarchy has had its day. Those idiots cannot deal with it.

  14. guest

    Mr. Summers gets it backwards in another sense as well. Removing the flag from State House grounds marks not the obliteration of history but rather its restoration. Its removal expresses the reconstitution of a history obscured for a century and a half by Confederate apologia, midnight and magnolia romance, the complacency spawned by post-Civil War North-South reconciliation and a general unwillingness among southerners to engage honestly and candidly with their region’s past. Only now is that past finally breaking into fuller public awareness.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The HISTORICAL view would be that expressed in Father Ryan’s poem, The Conquered Banner. First stanza:

      Furl that Banner, for ’tis weary;
      Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary;
      Furl it, fold it, it is best;
      For there’s not a man to wave it,
      And there’s not a sword to save it,
      And there’s no one left to lave it
      In the blood that heroes gave it;
      And its foes now scorn and brave it;
      Furl it, hide it–let it rest!

      To the extent that anyone truly respects the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers, one would never want to see that flag flying from a poll. Honor demands that, in defeat, it be furled and put away.

      That poem was enormously popular in the South from the moment of its publication on June 24, 1865 — 150 years and two days ago. It reflected the attitude of those who had actually been through the war. The would not have dreamed of hoisting it on the State House grounds.

      In fact, it didn’t even occur to them to put a soldier monument at the State House. The monument was first erected at Elmwood Cemetery. When it was moved to the State House years later, it was placed not in its present supremely visible location, but on the Eastern side of the building, more or less where the African-American monument is now…

      1. guest

        And yet, Father Ryan’s poem in toto exudes funereal veneration:

        “Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
        Treat it gently–it is holy–”

        Perhaps better — at least for our present occasion — are a few lines from one of the most popular songs from the same era:

        “It matters little now […]
        The past is in the eternal past.
        There is a future, O thank God!”

      2. guest

        According to articles by Stroud and Scoppe that appeared in The State in January and July of 2000, respectively, the Confederate Soldier’s Monument began life as a proposal in 1873, when SC was still under Reconstruction, but postwar money problems kept the monument from being completed until after the fall of the Reconstruction regime in 1876. According to these articles, the monument was erected on State House grounds in 1879 before a crowd of some some 15,000. The current monument is not the same as the one from 1879, however. That one was struck by lightening in 1882 and destroyed, then replaced in 1884 by the current monument.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Right. That monument was so ill-fated that its a wonder that pious folk of the day didn’t start to wonder whether the Almighty wasn’t trying to tell them something. I wrote all about that on the very day after the flag moved from the dome to the monument — July 2, 2000. My purpose was to serve notice that this compromise could not be, and was not as far as I was concerned, the final word on the flag.

          I was just thinking about that this morning. I’ll put that column up in a separate post…

  15. Bart

    Every jerk and jackass will try to have his or her 15 minutes of fame. When I saw the banner and the photo of the faux Colonel Sanders, I decided to not waste my time because that is exactly what it would have been. At my age, I have to use the time I have left wisely, not wasted on a throw-back who has no apparent concept of reality.

    When I saw the many microphones with the call letters for the radio and television stations, I asked myself why did they give this man any attention at all? Why continue to broadcast the hatred and idiocy of delusional individuals who actually believe a race war is coming?

    South Carolina for the most part has reacted the way civilized people do and the members of the families who were murdered did the right thing by forgiving Roof instead of taking to the streets and destroying another city and further damaging racial relationships. It is a ray of hope when the victims are the ones who are the peacemakers and not the hate mongers.

    For once, South Carolina is in the forefront and taking positive steps forward instead of hanging onto the past that has been so divisive. Haley did what Beasley and other governors could not or would not do, she publically demanded the flag be taken down and the reaction has been positive and supportive.

    Now, we have this @#@$$#$@#@!!&*%(* standing in front of microphones and cameras making a fool of himself, reinforcing the image of the South and South Carolinians as being racists, bigots, and intolerant?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bart, in reply to the question, “why did they give this man any attention at all?”

      To show how utterly bankrupt — intellectually, morally and spiritually — the opposition to taking down the flag really is.

      In case anyone was getting worried thinking someone would mount a credible, effective effort to block moving the flag, this is reassuring.

      That doesn’t mean that the effort can’t be stopped. There is no doubt that lawmakers are hearing, or will hear, from lots and lots of people who may be intellectually and morally lacking, but who will be VERY forceful in expressing their prejudices. And those exchanges and conversations will go on out of the public eye.

      That’s why it is critically important that we all contact our lawmakers and urge them to do the right thing in the strongest possible terms.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Trying to show opposing points of view, which has the added benefit of highlighting how delusional they are.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know, that story underlines why I made the transition more than two decades ago from straight news to opinion.

      I’ve probably elaborated before on my belief that straight news reporting doesn’t let you tell the truth, and I was tired of not being able to tell the truth. You see, a huge part of the truth is subjective, and if you only write a bunch of vanilla facts that no one can dispute, you’re being factual, but you’re not telling the TRUTH.

      Anyway, when you read a straight, sober news story, with no emotion or outrage in it about an absurdity such as this event, you see just how sadly inadequate the “objective” model can be.

      If you can’t put some “WTF?!?” into it, then you’re really shortchanging your readers, and not telling them what it was really like…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, you know, it’s hard to tell…

          There is ONE person listed on the website as a “news copy editor.” But I don’t know what the facts are. There are 45 people listed on the roster, which is how many were listed BEFORE the 15 recent buyouts. And one of the 45 is Robert Ariail, who does NOT work for the paper. They’re just subscribing to his material. (Cindi and Robert are both listed as part of the newsroom, because ever since I was canned, editorial HAS been under the newsroom. When I was there, I reported separately to the publisher, and we were on another floor. Now, Cindi’s in a corner of the newsroom, in the area that used to be the morgue, or more politely, the library.)

          And at least two people still listed were, according to my sources, among those who took a buyout.

          It’s a puzzle…

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