In the wake of the Charleston shootings, the imagery of the Confederate flag has stirred passions because of its alleged influence on the motives of the shooter. Of particular interest for some rabble rousers is the Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the SC State House. I have been perplexed as to how something that has been flying at the state capital since 1962 (when the flag was first raised at the behest of the Democrat governor and his allies in the legislature) would come to be associated with the Charleston shooting. What does a shooting in Charleston have to do with a flag flying 120 miles away in Columbia (the city, not the country – confusing, I know)?
But then it dawned on me! The reason people are so upset about the flag at the State House and believe that it had some influence on the shooter is because they think the State House is in Charleston. Of course, anyone even vaguely familiar with the history and geography of South Carolina knows that the state capital is in Columbia and that Charleston hasn’t been the capital since colonial times (1786 to be exact). So, I would posit that the reason everyone is all in a hullabaloo about the Confederate flag is because they think that it’s flying over the State House, which they erroneously assume to be in Charleston. It’s a simple case of mistaken identity.
It’s understandable how such confusion could arise. After all, I suppose Albany frequently experiences the same problem. Between Charleston and Columbia, Charleston is the better known city, with all the fancy restaurants and beaches that everyone’s heard of, the cool history sites, etc. Columbia has more of a diamond-in-the-rough quality to it. Though, as a certified former Columbia resident, I can attest to the quality of the Columbia food scene.
But this confusion is really the only logical explanation for the recent uproar. Because it’s simply ridiculous to suggest that a flag 120 miles away from the scene of the shooting (and that doesn’t sit atop the actual building or even the Confederate memorial itself – it actually stands next to it) would have anything to do with that shooting. Sure, maybe some people find it offensive. But such a display is hardly unique, nor is it likely to be even the most offensive thing sitting on the grounds of the State House. I would think that the memorials to Strom Thurmond or John C. Calhoun would provoke more ire from these people then a dinky little flag that is (literally) overshadowed by a giant memorial to the Confederate dead.
Though, given leading politicians’ apparent inclination to appease the mob, perhaps it’s best, lest anyone be offended, to simply bulldoze all of the monuments at the state house (including the memorial to Black South Carolinians, since that was clearly intended to be ironic) and rename all the streets in Columbia. Even the palmetto should go, because, you know. Slaves.
Then we can have a giant flag burning on the grounds of the state house, genuflect before the likes of William Barber, and maybe write a big check (courtesy of the local taxpayers of course) to the liberal grievance group of your choice. Of course that strategy will only work until the great, unwashed masses decide to get offended again. So, perhaps it’s better from a long-run perspective to simply ignore them and let them burn themselves out. Because these people will never be appeased, they will never be happy, and they will continue to look for ways to embarrass and humiliate you. So, don’t engage with them. Pretty simple.
But in the meantime, please try to remember that the state capital is in Columbia, not Charleston.