Online activists are calling for the Confederate flag that remains flying outside South Carolina's state house after nine parishioners were shot dead at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to be removed on the grounds that it is "insulting" to the victims of the shooting. Gawker reports that, in fact, every flag at the state house is flying at half mast in honor of the slain—except the Confederate one! Apparently because the Stars-and-Bars is so revered that it requires an act of the state legislature to even lower it. So, the flag of slavery stays proudly at full mast in the wake of a massacre of Black folks at a church associated with the anti-slavery and civil rights struggles. The mind boggles.
It gets worse. ABC notes:
Gov. Nikki Haley, who was in tears during a news conference this morning on the mass shooting at the historically black church, previously rejected the notion of removing the flag at a debate last year, saying it was a "sensitive issue" but that she didn't believe the flag presented an image problem for the state because she never had "one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag."
We don't need your tears, Gov. Haley. We need you to take down that flag. Meanwhile, Time reports that the apprehended suspect had a Facebook page that showed him decked out in white-supremacist regalia:
The [Facebook] photo, thought to be of Dylann Storm Roof, shows a young man wearing a black fleece jacket. Affixed to the right breast are two flags, one for apartheid-era South Africa, and another for the former colony of Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe.
And he also had a "Confederate States of America" license plate, Gawker tells us. Will people finally start to get it now? The Confederate flag is no different than the apartheid flag or the Rhodesian flag. It is equally a symbol of white supremacy. Arguably, it is even worse, as even apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia were not actually predicated on chattel slavery, as the Confederacy was. Hopefully, this horror will turn up the pressure on Confederacy nostalgists and bogus "libertarians" who peddle the revisionist lie that the Civil War was about "state's rights" (sic!) and not slavery.
Alas, some liberal responses to the Charleston attack have also been problematic. New York's Mayor Bill De Blasio said: "We've seen so many tragedies in our high schools and college campuses like this—so many related to mental health problems, so many mental health problems that in many cases were noticed and not acted upon. So there's a lot that we have to unravel here." (SI Live) This isn't the first time that left-liberal figures have loaned legitimacy to calls for a therapuetic police state in which there is prior restraint of those held to be "mentally ill." This misreading of the problem is not only lubricating an assault on freedom, but it is a distraction from the actual roots of the problem. As we've had to say before: fascism is not a mental illness.