I am not a Southerner. I think we can all agree that slavery is a vile institution which belongs on the ash heap of history (which, sadly enough, is alive and well in certain parts of the modern world - over a thousand dead thus far constructing the World Cup stadium in Qatar, ISIL's ongoing exploitation of Yazidi women; the list goes on).
That being said, I still find the reaction we're seeing to the Charlston shootings deeply troubling. There's talk now of demolishing monuments commemorating leaders and losses on the Confederate side of the Civil War. Vendors, including Wal-Mart, Apple and Amazon, are categorically pulling items off shelves which sport the Confederate flag. At this time, Amazon will not confirm or deny whether this includes Civil War books which feature the flag as part of their cover art (which at the least would be costly for publishers to replace), but it seems likely.
What does everyone think of all this? I find it interesting to note that Pastor Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the Charleston shooting, voted in favor of publicly displaying the Confederate battle flag during his time in the state senate. Whatever the rest of us might think of the CSA and what it stood for (the slavery part, anyway), I think all of this sets a dangerous precedent. Our freedom of speech is meant to protect the speech that *isn't* popular. Yes, so long as it doesn't turn out that these vendors are pulling these items in compliance with an executive order or something, then in a legal sense, no, that has not been violated - this is really about how we conduct ourselves as individuals. Once we start paving over our own history (ugly though it may be) in the name of sensitivity, where does that stop?
To me, at least, this and the giddy calls for new gun control measures (which in all likelihood would not have prevented the shooting) reek of opportunism, of people exploiting a tragedy for political ends.
Most Helpful Guy
I'm from Richmond, Virginia. Our monument to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was defaced by the same silly motto, "Black lives matter'. This statue is only two blocks from a monument to Arthur Ashe, the black Wimbledon legend from our city. Our take is that, indeed, black lives matter, but those that defile an historical statue belong in jail.
The street war for civil rights was fought and won a half century ago by black heroes whose spoiled, cowardly children now exploit tragedy for attention. Their parents confronted police dogs with only the clothes on their backs. People like Pastor Pinckney drive Cadillacs and let Walmart wage their battles for them.3