Let’s get one thing straight up front–it’s time for the flag to come down. It’s divisive, it’s hurtful, and whatever you or I or anyone might have meant by keeping or displaying it just doesn’t matter now that the Dylann Roofs of this world have chosen it as their banner.
BUT . . .
Let’s not kid ourselves, people. Can’t y’all see what’s going on here? Why is all the news suddenly about the flag? Why are we letting ourselves be distracted so easily?
The flag didn’t make Dylann Roof a racist; he embraced the flag because he was ALREADY a racist. And he didn’t whack those people over the head with a flag. He shot them. With a gun that was easily available to him, instantly, without any kind of waiting period, despite pending drug charges. A gun that was small enough to easily conceal as he entered the church. A lethal weapon that he bought with the express purpose of killing black people.
Racism motivated Dylann Roof. But all his hatefulness would have been impotent were it not backed up with a Glock .45.
And as a country, how are we going to respond to this tragedy, this butchery in God’s house? How are we going to make things better? We are going to get rid of all the Confederate flags, by golly! That will guarantee this kind of thing will never happen again!
Y’all, in the face of such horror, this is a feel-good gesture at best. And I hope that it DOES make African-American people feel good: make them feel heard, make them feel respected, make them feel that more change is possible.
But what I fear is really going to happen is a bunch of nothing. The flags will come down, we will all congratulate ourselves, and we will go back to our usual way of doing things.
So what if Wal-Mart stops selling Confederate battle flags? If they announced they were going to stop selling guns, THAT would be a step in the right direction.
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June 25, 2015