It is the hottest subject in years. The Confederate Flag is hailed by some as the symbol of the indomitable spirit of Dixie. It is derided by many others as the top symbol of slave culture and the indefensible practice of slavery.
South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union and the site of Ft. Sumter is taking the stars and bars off the state capitol. Has South Carolina governor Nikki Haley had an attack of conscience? Is there a sudden mass softening of the heart of South Carolinians? Or should we just, as said by Deep Throat so long ago, follow the money?
What brought this change about, and in a state as entrenched in the South as South Carolina? The massacre 22 days ago of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney and eight others inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church suddenly changed this dynamic, not only in South Carolina but around the nation.
There are killings seemingly every day. Why did this particular event spark change? The shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, posed with the flag in the days preceding the act. The images energized a society which has long rolled their eyes at the rebel flag but never had the backbone to rise up against the thing.
Sounds good But what does the flag have to with money? Plenty actually. The visitor and convention folks will realize an immediate boon if the Confederate flag is taken down from its “official” status at the capitol. Already the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has stated it will consider ending its 15-year boycott of South Carolina’s economy at its national convention this weekend.
That’s interesting, but the NAACP likely doesn’t have enough clout, by themselves, to create a financial windfall. Is there anything else?
Yes. The NCAA, which honored the NAACP ban, said it will resume holding championship events in the state.
How much money could that mean for South Carolina? An estimated $33 million dollars a year could be realized by the resumption of post-season college sports to the state.
So which was it? Conscience or the efficacy of greed? Certainly there was a little bit of both. But Gildshire wishes to err on the side of charity. Thousands of South Carolinians were moved to nausea by the images of Mr. Roof and the flag before his bloody rampage. The windfall expected from the decision will help, but there will be people in the State who disagree. They will let Governor Haley know about it as well. But well done, South Carolina. Social change may come glacially slowly to the South. But ultimately come it does.