It was not until the recent horrific South Carolina Church killings by 21 year old Dylann Roof who gunned down 9 people at a Bible Study at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston that I was even aware that the Confederate Flag hangs on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capital (technically) as part of a Civil War Monument. As far as I know South Carolina is the only state where the Confederate battle flag flies on capital grounds although Mississippi's state flag bares the same Confederate Battle Flag saltire as part of it's design. Georgia's state flag design also paid homage to the Confederate Battle Flag from 1955 to 2001. Political pressure to change the flag came to a head during the early 1990's because of the then upcoming Olympic games that were to be held in Atlanta in 1996. Over time and most likely because business interests and leaders felt that not changing the state flag would negatively impact Georgia's economy a new design was adopted.
As is almost always the case, change seems to happen when dollars are at stake as opposed to doing what is right on moral grounds. I, myself, was utterly shocked to find out that the Confederate Battle Flag flies high in the South Caroline sky. I mean, it could easily be part of the civil war monument encased in acrylic or inside the walls of a museum but to fly the flag sends a mixed message. Flying a flag is associated with adoration of that symbol and it's meaning. Supporters of flying the flag say that it represents heritage not hate. Now I may have a different definition of hate than these supporters but the Confederacy at it's core was all about the subjugation of a people and declaring the "white" race superior to the "black" race. In fact, the Cornerstone Speech by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens at the Athenaeum in Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1861, emphatically belittled the Constitutions assertion that all men were created equal stating:
"Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong, They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it when the storm can and the wind blew, it fell."
In another passage he fortifies the prime moral imperative at the Confederacy's core:
"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery, subordination to the superior race is his natural and moral condition."
The Confederates like the Confederate flag itself has no morality whatsoever because to use Mr. Stephen's own analogy it's foundation is itself on shaky ground. Hell, it is on moral quicksand. Make no mistake about it, the Confederate flag is so drenched in hate that it is no wonder that Dylann Roof kept the icon close and it is no wonder that the Ku Klux Klan displays the "Southern Cross" as their flag of choice.
Supporters of allowing the flag to remain in it's present state over the Civil war memorial and those of us who feel it is a moral blight on the American landscape may never be able to reach a point of compromise and politicians will undoubtedly sit on their collective hands as to not offend anyone who may cast a vote their way. It looks like the horrific church shooting might turn the political tide and the SC state legislature may actually vote to remove the flag but why did it take so long, why did it take such a mind numbing incident to slap our collective consciousness.
Photo Mark Makela
American Pancake is an indie music blog and our voice is a small one. This coming Thursday, June 25th Rock Legend Sir Paul McCartney is going to play at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina's capital city. He dedicated songs to the victims of the Charleston Church killings at his recent show in at the Firely Music Festival in Dover, Delaware.
To you Sir Paul McCartney, I extend this plea:
Please use your magnificent voice to make a strong statement about Confederate Flag in South Carolina. The Confederate Battle Flag flies on the grounds of the state capitol and needs to come down. It is a symbol that at it's core is woven by the same threads of white supremacy as the Nazi manifesto and the doctrines of the Ku Klux Klan. While the symbols of our immoral past should never be forgotten, the Confederate flag flying at the South Carolina Capital grounds is a hateful blight on the American skyline.
Mr. McCartney, I am not asking you to cancel the concert in protest (although that thought crossed my mind) but to strongly make a statement and to resolve to not play a concert in South Carolina until the flag is removed. I would hope you would also not play in Mississippi whose state flag also bears homage to the Confederacy. Please, please say, do something.
So, it is done. Will one of my favorite Beatles even read this, even care (?) I hope so AND to all you out there, all those other performers and especially the indie bands that this blog writes about PLEASE boycott South Carolina. Please weigh in on the issue and resolve to not play any SC venues. I know this will be difficult for local artists but other venues in North Carolina or Georgia are not that far away.