A Flag Ceremony

It was a strange, remarkable, and hopeful moment. Flanked by legislators from both parties the Governor of South Carolina called for the Confederate flag to finally be removed from its revered place on the statehouse grounds.

Republicans have been granted a rare political gift, a window of opportunity to assert our independence from a repugnant element of the party’s base. Governor Haley’s gesture, though it is merely a gesture, creates the potential for Republicans to finally delegitimize a range of political expression that has thwarted efforts to build good public policy and capped the Republican Party’s potential national influence.

Unfortunately, the party’s leaders are unlikely to seize this moment. After decades spent pandering to a shrinking racist fringe the party has purged or demoted almost anyone who possesses the intellectual insight, the sympathy, or even the language required to expand the party’s appeal. Haley’s action is unlikely to help the GOP in 2016.

Nevertheless, we may have passed a watershed. Thanks to this symbolic move and the subtle but significant realignments it will generate, an emerging bloc of Republican political figures may be emboldened. Haley’s decision to take down the flag may set younger Republicans free from intimidation by the far right fringe.

Encouraged by a new freedom to speak frankly about the Confederate flag, we may finally muster the courage to be honest about the rest of our racial heritage. Younger Republican politicians have an opening now to condemn racism in a meaningful way and distance themselves from the politics of the Dixiecrat era. Dogwhistle politics has kept Republicans in a box, unable to acknowledge any of the four inescapable realities that dominate politics in our time. Coming to terms with heritage in a courageous, honest manner could put the Republican Party back on a path to leadership and put the country on track for a very promising new century.

Republicans still win elections, especially elections that are local and concentrated in the South and the rural west. That’s not enough to remain relevant nationally. More importantly, the ways that racism distorts Republican policy templates make it impossible for the party to serve the public interest, even when and where we win.

There’s a reason that violent racist groups like Stormfront came out in support of Ron Paul instead of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. There’s a reason why members and leadership in the Council of Conservative Citizens gravitate toward Republican candidates now, repudiating their past support for Democrats. There’s a reason that the map of likely “red states” mirrors a certain political map from 1860. We have to reexamine those reasons and confront their meaning.

GOP stances on issues as widely separated as gun control, education, health care, social services, taxes, crime and transportation are warped beyond usefulness by ingrained, unquestioned racism. We can’t have nice things because a significant bloc of the voting population worries that those things might fall into the hands of filthy, mooching “others.” Pandering to racists has made the GOP complicit in the dismantling of a model community values once considered vital to conservatism.

We vehemently deny that reality while carefully constructing policies that retain our appeal to racists. Reality is merciless. Our potential as a country will remain dampened until Republicans wrestle internally with that flaw and build pro-business, market oriented policies that are stripped of their deep-seated racist distortions.

There will be resistance to this process. Those with the strongest emotional attachment to notions of white supremacy are likely to get noisier in the next few years. A sustained attack on the legitimacy of Neo-Confederate politics will not go unchallenged. Republicans, even those who chafe at the demands of the paranoid fringe, will face a powerful temptation to hedge, equivocate, and pander.

The Confederacy with all that it stands for is part of your author’s heritage as much as anyone else’s. Heritage is not legitimacy. My ancestors were fine people. Those fine people fought against the United States to continue to a system of horrific oppression. They didn’t end their fight when the war was lost.

That’s a complex, messy story. That’s where American reality slips loose from American myth. I’m doing no one any favors by continuing that miserable legacy in the name of my “heritage.” We will all be better off when we place our myths in perspective.

Governor’s Haley’s decision and her very visible gesture in support of that decision offer a unique opportunity. We have a political opening to place that heritage inside a wider, truer picture. Old times there are not forgotten. Nor should they be. Perhaps we will muster the courage to remember them honestly and break their power to warp our future.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Neo-Confederate, Tea Party
140 comments on “A Flag Ceremony
  1. 1mime says:

    BREAKING NEWS: “The Supreme Court held in a 6-3 decision that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal exchanges. The ruling is a major win for the Obama administration.” cnn

    Now, let us see if Republicans will join with Democrats to address the problems in the ACA rather than continue to use this issue as a whipping post. FIND agreement to make good changes so that more Americans can have affordable, accessible, quality health care. That is all it is really about.

    Rob, you were right.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s the actual SCOTUS opinion. Scalia, Alito, Thomas dissented. I haven’t found the dissent brief yet but will keep looking.

      http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-114_qol1.pdf

      • 1mime says:

        The Hill: Chief Justice Roberts succinctly spelled out the core reason for upholding ACA subsidies:

        “”Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter” he wrote.”

        Refreshingly clear and simple. Well, the lawyers – both sides – once again laugh all the way to the bank. Of course, it would be foolish to assume that the GOP will leave this issue to, god forbid, focus on more urgent American problems!

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I’m happy today!

    • Doug says:

      Pure applesauce

    • way2gosassy says:

      Jeb, Marco and Cruz have already pledged to repeal “every word of Obamacare”. I’m sure there are more declarations coming.

      • 1mime says:

        I mean, why stop at 50 congressional attempts to repeal the ACA?

        And, these three men represent the top tier Republican Presidential candidates?

        Lifer – you must be throwing spit balls at the window about now. I know how hard you work to be a positive influence within the Republican Party. This kind of response illustrates just how much work remains before the GOP can right itself.

        And, here is a possible Republican statesman response ( I hypothesize):

        “The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken twice on the constitutionality of the ACA; 50 Congressional efforts to repeal it have failed; the President who championed this law has been re-elected. It is time for us to work with Democrats to fix those areas in the ACA that will make it work efficiently to ensure that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care. It is time to move on to other important concerns facing America such as jobs creation, infrastructure funding, immigration reform, equality issues, public education needs, civil rights progress, tax reform, social safety net re-structuring. We, the Republican Party, pledge to put this divisive issue behind us and move forward. The American people and the courts have spoken. ”

        Then I woke up and realized it was all a dream…………..

  2. So If I read this correctly
    5 deaths a year by Islamic jihadists
    10 deaths a year by right wing extremists
    1000 deaths a year by US cops

  3. johnofgaunt75 says:

    I’ve never understood the affinity some have with the Confederate flag. I understand the scale of the loss of life during the Civil War but, correct me if I am wrong, most of the men who died during the Civil War for the Confederacy would have never seen or used that flag, correct? That was a flag of a specific unit or army in the war, not the flag of the entire Confederacy or even of the Confederate military, correct?

    Anyway, I lived in Virginia for many years (loved it there) and visited many of the historic Civil war sites and battlefields. I always felt what a stupid and wasteful war that was and how we should be remembering the lost and learning from the horrible mistakes that lead up to that war but honoring a social system based on slavery? No thanks.

    • objv says:

      JOG75, Here I agree. The Civil War was stupid and wasteful A social system based on slavery should never be honored. The Confederate flag should not be flown on government property since it has become associated with slavery.

      However, I can’t bring myself to think that all the white people in the South were bad. During Reconstruction the government did much to punish people in southern states. Perhaps some of that antagonism caused anger and resentment quite apart from loss of slaves. Most did not own slaves.

      In any case, the Civil War is long over. It’s time the Confederate flag is taken down. It belongs in a museum or on private property. I think most can agree on that.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Clearly not. Many, many people in the South at that time were fine people. Many didn’t want the war to happen but reluctantly joined out of a sense of duty. Robert E. Lee was one of those men. I also doubt your average Confederate soldier, if asked, would say they were fighting for slavery or to defend the institution of slavery. Like all soldiers, I suspect they would say they are fighting to protect their homes and they are fighting for their brothers in arms around them. I’m sure you could say the same thing about your average German soldier in WWII was well.

      • RobA says:

        Very few southerners actually owned slaves.

        It’s easy to forget (considering how poorly they were treated) but slaves were very valuable property that only the wealthiest would be able to afford.

        The plantation class was probably analogous to the 1% of their day.

        I read an interesting book (the name escapes me) that suggests that during reconstruction the blacks were scapegoat ed by the planter class as an easy to demonize “villain” for why the majority of NON wealthy white southerners were poor and had no opportunities. It was advantageous to the Planter class to focus all that white lower class frustration and rage on the newly freed blacks, and indeed much of the most horrific crimes commited against blacks (the lynching, killings, Jim crow etc) were commited by lower class whites who had never owned slaves.

        The more you learn about human history the more you realize that Marx was on to something (in the first paragraph, at least) in the Communist Manifesto where he declared ALL human struggle can be boiled down to class war. Whether it’s serfs vs lords, proletariat vs bourgeoisie, nobility vs peasants or the 1% vs everyone else, it’s all the same.

      • 1mime says:

        Kinda helps understand all the working class whites who proclaim their racial superiority…the cycle keeps churning….

  4. bubbabobcat says:

    “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists,”

    Absolutely shocked. Eye roll.

    And cops were quite aware of this if not the general public.

    “A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University.”

    And this doesn’t even include the Colorado theater and Netown school massacres because they had “no ideological motive”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-0&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&configSection=article&isLoggedIn=true&pgtype=article

    • Doug says:

      So…48 deaths over 14 years in a country of 300+ million people. That begs for a little math to put it in perspective.

      If you spent an entire year, 24 hours per day worrying about how you might die, and apportioned the worrying according the chance of death:

      Heart disease would take you through about March 27th, nearly three solid months.
      Cancer would take you from there until around June 18th.
      “Death by Non-Muslim Extremist” worrying would occupy about 42 seconds in late December just after “Arthropod-borne viral encephalitis”.

      • johngalt says:

        Math only goes so far when describing deaths that are needless and utterly preventable.

      • Cpl. Cam says:

        Yes, and “death by islamo-fascist” would occupy the next twenty seconds but listen to our media and some politicians *cough* Lindsey Graham *cough* talk about the great ISIS threat… It’s not even “JV” level…

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Doug, I think the point might be that we have spent a lot of collective thought and money worrying about death by Islamic extremist, and almost none worrying about angry White folks. I’m not necessarily saying we need to flip that around completely, but maybe a little more reality needs to creep into our collective thought and spending.

      • Doug says:

        Not sure why, but humans tend to worry about little things over which they have little control. We should be spending our resources on real dangers, like bees and spontaneous combustion.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Or perhaps we should worry about the prevalence of deliberately obtuse wingnuts tossing turds in the punchbowl of any rational discourse.

      • Doug says:

        Turds in punch bowls are a real danger, as e coli kills 25 times more people than non-muslim extremists, about the same as bees.

      • BigWilly says:

        Spontaneous human combustion has to be taken seriously.

        Very seriously.

      • Crogged says:

        Fortunately Louis Pasteur disproved it.

  5. Turtles Run says:

    I thought I posted this so please excuse me if it shows up twice. A co-worker sent this to me. I thought it could help lighten the mood.

  6. Anse says:

    Chris, if your views were ever to become mainstream in the GOP, they’d be a bigger threat to liberalism than the Tea Party could ever hope to be.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the excellent article in Deadspin about Augusta National. I think it’s an excerpt from a longer book that’s coming out. Anyway, the author of the piece talks openly about what sets The Masters tournament apart from other PGA events, and the absurdity of the club’s aggressive fixation on detail and the artifice of tradition. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The author actually says, I believe, that visiting Augusta National is a little like visiting North Korea. Your every movement is watched. Your every behavior is scrutinized. The slightest misstep can get you dismissed, whether you’re a journalist or just a fan there to watch some golf, and it is depressingly easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the rules, completely unaware until you get a tap on the shoulder from a club official and an escort off the premises.

    I get this sense that Augusta National is an extreme reflection of what the Neo-Confederate Republican Party desires for America as a whole. A radical, often nonsensical fixation on the outward appearance of respect for tradition, enforced with the vigor of a petty dictator with the sheen of genteel respectability.

    I’m making a stretch of an analogy, perhaps, but it seems like an appropriate one when talking about how we approach the Confederate battle flag and the legacy of the old South.

    Just watching the Masters on television, you can’t get a full sense of the extreme measures the club takes to present an image of absolute Southern perfection and charm. They even find a way to rid the course of birds! If you hear birds singing on the television broadcast of The Masters, they are recordings added in the control room. Just amazing.

    • 1mime says:

      Astute observation about The Masters, Anse. I think you are correct about the “southern perfection” image. Two women were finally admitted in 2012 after the IBM CEO threatened to pull their sponsorship if their female leader was not invited. The publicity was bad and the “private” club relented.

      In reading more deeply on The Masters, I learned this via WIKI:

      “The golf club’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly because there were no African-American members admitted until 1990,[5] as well as a former policy requiring all caddies to be black, which was omitted from the club’s bylaws in 1959.[6] ”

      Lots of parallel examples to support your hypothesis of The Masters as the arch typical example of the Southern White model. They are ever so slowly joining the real world….ever…so…slowly….

      • Anse says:

        It’s a great read. Not entirely relevant to the present discussion, but definitely worth your time:

        http://deadspin.com/how-augusta-national-became-golfs-north-korea-1709794444

        A whole lot of private country clubs have this history behind them, but it seems like Augusta has an extreme fixation on perpetuating this nauseating and antiquated atmosphere of exclusion, privilege, and entitlement. I occasionally play a little at the 9-hole muni where my dad is a member. But Augusta National represents everything I really hate about the culture behind the game. A bunch of self-entitled rich white dickheads who have somehow been able to cultivate this image, and the media lets them get away with it.

      • 1mime says:

        Very interesting article, Anse. I’ve sent it to our son who is an avid golfer and has been to the Masters as a fan. He and our grandson travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to participate in AJGA competition, so his perspective will be interesting to me, though that’s not to say we will agree on the article’s premise. And, that’s ok but it’s important to me that he view this tournament through a wide lens. (ever teaching, Tutta…always trying to raise awareness….)

      • johngalt says:

        Augusta National is absolutely no different than hundreds of other privileged private clubs in this country, north, south, east, and west, except that it is far more in the public eye. Most of them have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern era. Augusta maybe more than some, but part of this is a sales pitch: CBS has long advertised the Masters as “A tradition unlike any other.” This is not to say they shouldn’t be shamed into modernizing, but there are far bigger problems in both gender and racial equality in this country than the membership policies of a golf club in a shitty town in east Georgia.

    • 1mime says:

      Anse, if Lifers views became mainstream Republican, it would be a good thing for both parties! For many Democrats, the major sticking point with conservatives have been their narrow ideology. America is big enough for two or more parties, but Americans can’t be left behind. When politics supersedes rational decision making, we all lose. I welcome a rational, strong GOP. It will raise the bar for both parties and make both more accountable to the American people. No one loses in that scenario.

  7. way2gosassy says:

    I just came across this article by David Frum. Ironically (or not ) he seems to agree with you on several points. The one that caught my eye and is giving Tracy heartburn was on liability insurance.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/mass-shootings-are-preventable/396644/

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Sassy,

      Frum has some good ideas.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, what say you to the article written by Frum? Are you not able to agree that areas remain (gun show loopholes, private sales, training) that can be strengthened without depriving gun owners of their right to own guns? What about the statistics cited showing the glaring differences in both gun violence and gun ownership between the U.S. Canada, Australia and Great Britain? And so much more in the article.

        Surely, surely, you haven’t drawn the line so definitively that you can’t acknowledge that reasonable changes can be found that offer greater protection for both the public and gun owners?

      • Well, 1mime, we plowed this ground pretty thoroughly in Chris’ last post, but I’ll attempt to summarize.

        First, gun ownership is not like owning a car. Rather, it’s the physical expression of a constitutional right, and not just any constitutional right, but the 2nd right listed in the Bill of Rights, which is recognized as expressing those natural rights that predate *any* government. Just as the 1st Amendment expresses and protects our natural rights to free association and free expression, the 2nd Amendment expresses and protects our natural right to self-defense. (The 3rd through 8th Amendments express and protect our rights to be secure in our persons and property.) The ordering of amendments in the Bill of Rights is not accidental; it reflects the primacy and interdependence of those rights. These rights are *not* to be trifled with, and any infringement on them is to be studiously avoided if we hope to retain a free and civil society.

        With respect to “areas remain[ing] (gun show loopholes, private sales, training) that can be strengthened without depriving gun owners of their right to own guns,” I’m all for doing so provided that, a) such strengthening can be done in an affirmative, rather than punitive and coercive fashion, and b) such new laws as might be passed are enforceable, and produce a measurable net benefit to society without unduly burdening the rights enumerated above.

        With respect to a universal background check law, I cannot and will not support it because, a) it’s ludicrously unenforceable, and b) the current background check system is pretty much a joke from a law enforcement value standpoint. (I refer you to my rejoinder to fly on this topic in Chris’ previous post.) That said, I would voluntarily avail myself of a NICS check if such were readily available at reasonable cost at gun shows, or at my local sporting goods store. (Several significant changes to current law would have to be made to eliminate liability concerns for private concerns providing such services.) Note that this voluntary approach is affirmative, rather than punitive or coercive. It encourages good citizenship and responsible conduct, rather than imposing on our rights with the coercive weight of government.

        I’ve already outlined a similar position on firearms liability insurance. Were it voluntary, readily available, and untraceable without a warrant, I’d avail myself of it. Were needs-based subsidies available for those who would otherwise be unable to afford it, I’d be even more supportive. Again, this is an affirmative approach. Rather than making such insurance a barrier to gun ownership, it could make gun ownership safer and less risky from a financial standpoint. No doubt insurance companies could also help foster responsible gun ownership by providing “safe gun owner discounts,” much like many auto and home insurance companies do for safe drivers and homeowners, respectively.

        The same affirmative approach goes for training; it should be an affirmative experience, rather than being structured as yet another barrier to gun ownership. Carrying a gun is a very weighty responsibility, and not one to be entered into lightly. Anybody who carries a gun should avail themselves of appropriate training at every opportunity; I certainly do. Every organization that is truly concerned about actual gun safety is heavily focused on training. I’ve already referred you to the NRA and NSSF resources devoted to this topic. You will note that I did not provide similar links for any of the Bloomberg-sponsored so-called gun safety groups; that’s because they don’t exist. Such groups are interested in banning and confiscation, not safety.

        With respect to the Frum article, it contains numerous glaring factual errors that indicate Mr. Frum has most certainly not done his homework. So I don’t lend any credence to his opinion on the matter. One of the more egregious of these errors is the the purported fact that, “Federally registered firearms vendors are required to enter the prospective purchasers’ names into a federal database.” Since you’ve expressed much the same belief, let me gently dispel the error. There is *no* federal database of existing gun owners or prospective gun purchasers, period. Such a database would constitute a federal gun registry, and in this country that is *illegal*. Rather, the government maintains a database of prohibited persons, i.e. those who *cannot* legally own a gun. When you purchase gun you fill out a 4473 form (https://www.atf.gov/file/61446/download), and the FFL dealer then submits your particulars to be ‘instantly’ checked against the database of prohibited persons. If there’s no hit, the FFL dealer sells you the gun. No record of the transaction is maintained in a federal database; the record of the transaction is maintained *solely* by the FFL dealer who sells the weapon. Records are maintained in the federal database *only* if you show up as a hit against the prohibited persons list, and even then, enforcement is pathetic. The NICS rejection rate is ~1.2%. The prosecution rate against those rejections is ~0.06%.

      • 1mime says:

        Gun shows – glad to hear you say that but disagree that it should be voluntary. For people of your character, it is not an issue, there are others who need the enforcement mechanism, which you object to categorically. As for the enforcement capability of a gun registry, the absence of one speaks more to the effectiveness of the gun lobby than the lack of need for one to exist. Like many programs that are not favored, don’t fund it and it can’t function properly. Easy. You didn’t respond to the stats cited comparing gun violence in the U.S. to the other major industrialized nations as cited in the article. Further, I disagree that gun training should be voluntary.

        Tracy you are passionate in your support and conviction on the issue of gun ownership. That is admirable. I, on the other hand, am just as passionate in my concern about the huge number of guns and gun related deaths. If requiring insurance for gun ownership would save lives, I’d be for it. I don’t know many people who would purchase car insurance if they weren’t required to – not only for one’s own protection but also for others who share the same roads. I see them as the same thing.

      • 1mime, sorry, forgot to touch on gun violence outside the U.S. Bill Whittle has kind of a humorous take on the matter:

        In case you were wondering, here’s how people kill people in countries like the UK, where guns are mostly unavailable:

        TRIGGER WARNING – the above video has some graphic elements.

      • 1mime, gun registries lead to gun confiscation. Period. End of story.

        Frankly, I have a lot more respect for the intellectual honesty of those who openly campaign for repeal of the 2nd Amendment than I do for those who actively lobby for a gun registry. The former are open and honest (if terribly misinformed, IMHO). The latter are simply duplicitous, gun grabbing, lying weasels. As far as I’m concerned, such folks are treading into “from my cold, dead fingers” territory.

        With respect to background checks (voluntary, or so-called mandatory universal), since I provided you with a little background info, perhaps further discussion is merited. As I indicated, gun transaction records are maintained solely by Federal Firearms License[e] (FFL) dealers. Such records must be permanently maintained, and are subject to ATF audits; even the smallest error can cost a dealer their FFL and livelihood.

        Each gun that passes through a FFL dealer’s hands must be carefully logged into, and then out of (when sold or otherwise transferred), the dealer’s inventory. This is true regardless of how long the gun resides in that inventory. When I buy from a FFL dealer at a gun show (and 99+% of transactions at gun shows are through FFL dealers), the firearm that I purchase was entered into in the dealer’s inventory well before the show, so there’s plenty of time to ensure proper and accurate records. Such transactions are just like buying at a gun store (and most dealers at gun shows are from gun stores).

        I actually buy and sell most of my guns online, via websites like http://www.gunbroker.com. All such online transactions must also be conducted by a FFL dealer. In these cases, the firearm is in the FFL dealer’s inventory for only a day or so (until I come in to pick up the gun). This is a hassle for the FFL dealer, and they see no profit from the gun itself (as they are not the seller). However, the FFL dealer is still on the hook for all the record keeping, even though they did not actually buy or sell the gun. For this reason most FFL dealers decline to facilitate such transactions, and those that do charge a premium for it; $35-$50 is the going rate. (I always make sure to express my gratitude to my FFL dealer who conducts the transactions for my online buying and selling.)

        With background checks for private transactions (either voluntary or mandatory), the FFL dealer conducting the transaction would still be on the hook for all the record keeping, but now it would have to be done on-the-fly, at the moment the seller and buyer walk up to the FFL dealer and plop a gun on the counter. No FFL dealer in their right mind would want to be exposed to that kind of liability, and that’s why no FFL dealer that I am aware of provides such a service. If we are going to have private transaction background checks, current law is going to have to be altered to cut FFL dealers a little slack.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the detailed explanation, Tracy. Yes, it does seem like it’s all pain and no gain for the FFL parties. Do you have some suggestions for making the process more efficient and fair, without eliminating the registry?

      • 1mime says:

        Another thought, Tracy, no on here has advocated gun removal from legitimate purchasers. No One. It diminishes your vast knowledge on the subject for you to state that those who support responsible gun registration procedures are “duplicitous, gun grabbing, lying weasels.”

        I didn’t realize that you were also a gun dealer and participate in online sales. I have no doubt that you are extraordinarily careful in all your dealings, but you do have a deeper investment than pure personal ownership….and, that’s OK. But, I’m glad you disclosed it. Do you think there is the opportunity for more abuse with online gun sales than direct store sales? How does this segment police itself?

        Again, I think you are being overly critical of those who have personal concerns about guns. Just as there are fringe elements in every issue, undoubtedly there are those who do want to remove all guns. I would expect that percentage is exceedingly small. Don’t lump everyone into one “weasel” category just as I don’t lump all passionate gun owners into one “irresponsible” gun owner category. Saw cuts both ways, Tracy. Thank you for the time and energy you put into trying to educate those of us who have concerns and lack your experience and knowledge. As long as we all can talk about these issues, we are making progress. It won’t stop killing by irresponsible people but we can continue to seek better ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. I don’t think we disagree with this objective.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        32,000 dead.

        I have started 10 or so comments recently, but deleted them . Nothing seems correct lately.

        Lets talk about the 2nd amendment. You say its a God given right to be able to buy a gun off the street to cap that dude encroaching on your corner. That Ye Olde English could buy a “throwaway” at a gun show in case their old woman is cheating. It is a long held tradition.

        So we’ll ignore the first part of the amendment it just confuses things. We are left with “Shall not be infringed”. Yet these right are infringed. I refer the reader to:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act

        This is a law that was passed in 1934. The is a gun control law, big time. It was passed to outlaw several different types of guns that the criminal element used. Most noted was the full automatic weapon that gangs used during prohibition. This isn’t a change to the constitution, not an amendment. This is an infringement on the right to bear arms.

        I hope most people can see through the pro-gun baloney.

        For example, ” Vince (former ATF special agent) says concerns that a centralized database of guns and gun owners will lead to gun confiscation have been disproved by 80 years of history with the National Firearms Act, a 1934 law that requires citizens who own machine guns, short-barrel shotguns and certain other highly dangerous weapons to register them with the federal government. Owners of NFA firearms, as they are known, are fingerprinted, photographed and subjected to an FBI background check, and the serial numbers of their guns are kept in a federal database, whose contents, Vince says, have never been divulged outside of a legitimate law enforcement inquiry. Most important, these weapons are rarely used to commit crimes. The NFA has effectively removed these guns from the criminal marketplace.”

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/atf-gun-laws-nra

        Gun control does work.

        Then there was:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act_of_1968

        At the hearings NRA Executive Vice-President Franklin Orth supported a ban on mail-order sales, stating, “We do not think that any sane American, who calls himself an American, can object to placing into this bill the instrument which killed the president of the United States.”

        More infringements. The sanctity of the 2nd amendment is a recent NRA lie. To sell guns. in trade for American lives.

        “1.2 percent of dealers — 1,020 of the approximately 83,200 licensed retail dealers and pawnbrokers — accounted for over 57 percent of the crime guns traced to current dealers in 1998.” Known because of tracing effort that was curtailed later by NRA backed Rep. Tihart(R).

        If you knowingly buy stolen goods, are you not a thief?

        If you are a responsible gun owner but block ways to keep guns from the irresponsible, do you share his guilt?

      • 1mime says:

        Excellent background research, Unarmed. Thanks. I think we are all becoming much better informed on the subject through everyone’s contributions. At the very least, we’re talking about the subject in a substantive manner, and that is the best way to find workable solutions that have a chance of adoption.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        32,000 dead.

        I have started 10 or so comments recently, but deleted them . Nothing seems correct lately.

        Lets talk about the 2nd amendment. You say its a God given right to be able to buy a gun off the street to cap that dude encroaching on your corner. That Ye Olde English could buy a “throwaway” at a gun show in case their old woman is cheating. It is a long held tradition.

        So we’ll ignore the first part of the amendment it just confuses things. We are left with “Shall not be infringed”. Yet these right are infringed. I refer the reader to:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act

        This is a law that was passed in 1934. The is a gun control law, big time. It was passed to outlaw several different types of guns that the criminal element used. Most noted was the full automatic weapon that gangs used during prohibition. This isn’t a change to the constitution, not an amendment. This is an infringement on the right to bear arms.

        I hope most people can see through the pro-gun baloney.

        For example, ” Vince (former ATF special agent) says concerns that a centralized database of guns and gun owners will lead to gun confiscation have been disproved by 80 years of history with the National Firearms Act, a 1934 law that requires citizens who own machine guns, short-barrel shotguns and certain other highly dangerous weapons to register them with the federal government. Owners of NFA firearms, as they are known, are fingerprinted, photographed and subjected to an FBI background check, and the serial numbers of their guns are kept in a federal database, whose contents, Vince says, have never been divulged outside of a legitimate law enforcement inquiry. Most important, these weapons are rarely used to commit crimes. The NFA has effectively removed these guns from the criminal marketplace.”

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/atf-gun-laws-nra

        Gun control does work.

        Had to split this comment because of multiple links.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yet another frothing Gospel of the Gun cult/religion/fetish sermon from the pulpit of the Righteous Reverend TThor.

        Yawn.

        Guns aren’t sacred cows and neither is ownership of such. Regardless of how much you worship at the altar of the archaic, outdated, and passé 2nd Amend and the Church of the Poisoned Mind…er NRA. They are merely long obsolete and outdated scribblings of old White men who owned slaves and single shot ancient musket guns that were barely more effective than its use as fanciful and ornate bludgeon clubs. Get over yourselves and stop sacrificing the blood and souls of innocent children, men and women of the cloth, decent , law abiding me and women of all stripes and true religions, etc., for your self imposed delusional vision of Dante’s 9 Circles of Gun Hell for all of us. No thank yew.

        You get the picture. Well, actually you don’t. But everyone else not blinded by irrational and emasculation compensation abject fear of “those others” and pretty much their own shadows, does.

        Didn’t the Bible frown upon worshipping false idols?

      • “For people of your character, it is not an issue, there are others who need the enforcement mechanism, which you object to categorically.”

        Well, 1mime, you’ve actually touched on the heart of the matter. Law abiding people like you and I, who constitute the vast majority of gun owners, don’t need any more laws or regulations to make us behave ‘better.’ It not like additional laws and regulations are going to make us law abid-ier; we’re *already* law abiding, responsible citizens. Conversely, miscreants don’t obey the gun laws we already have. Adding more laws isn’t going to make them any more likely to be law abiding. At best, it just gives us another item that we can add to the list of charges when (or if) we catch them after they’ve committed a crime. Additional laws won’t prevent, or stop, miscreants from being miscreants. I encourage you to look at proposed gun laws and regulations in this light. Every time one comes up, you need to ask yourself whether the juice is worth the squeeze.

      • Hmm. Looks like bubba is trolling. Again…

      • flypusher says:

        “First, gun ownership is not like owning a car. Rather, it’s the physical expression of a constitutional right..”

        It is very much like owning a car it that it can cause absolute carnage in the wrong hands. Unlike all those 1st Amendment rights you group it with. Justified restrictions/regulations can and do happen if others are harmed. Deny your child medical care for a curable disease and see how far invoking the 1st Amendment right of freedom of worship gets you when the child dies. Try just spontaneously assembling on a busy street and see how the local authorities react. Try publishing blatant lies about someone or falsely yelling “fire” in that theater and see if those free speech rights keep you out of court.

        The notion that we can’t have gun licenses because 2nd amendment is completely ridiculous.

      • 1mime, I’m not a gun dealer. I do buy and (occasionally) sell guns, but I always do so though an FFL dealer, as required by law. I have a good friend who *is* an FFL dealer, so I have a little familiarity with the challenges FFL dealers face. I think a reasonable fix for on demand background checks would be to remove the requirement to enter the firearm into inventory. Rather, the FFL dealer would simply run the NICS check. That would be a *lot* less hassle for FFL dealers.

        With respect to gun registries, I am not personally aware of any gun registry in any municipality throughout history that has not been subsequently used for partial or wholesale gun confiscation. Not one. Because of this, I cannot condone a gun registry. If you can come up with a counter example, I’ll gladly pay heed. And if you can come up with some variant of a gun registry that is immune to the dangers of confiscation, I’ll be happy to listen.

      • unarmed, I think you missed this topic in Chris’ prior post. I don’t have a problem with the National Firearms Act of 1934; I think it’s quite reasonable based on the accepted definition of “arms.” The Gun Control Act of 1968 I have some issues with, but can live with. The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was a total joke.

        Basically, I think we’ve already made all the reasonable accommodations and compromises there are to be made with respect to the 2nd Amendment. More cowbell is not going to help.

    • vikinghou says:

      Frum is sensible. No wonder he was fired from his job at the American Enterprise Institute.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Sassy

      This part of the article is what I find most disturbing. TTHOR and Doug may pretend that guns keep people safe but the lack of training that CCH people receive (better yet, do not receive) creates a more dangerous environment for all those around them.

      “Certified florists in the State of Florida are required to take six weeks of courses at a cost of at least $600. They must pass a series of exams, and purchase a business from the state.

      You might think that the power to deal death to strangers in public would be more closely supervised than the right to sell floral arrangements. You would be wrong.

      To obtain a concealed-carry permit, a Floridian must only submit a “certificate of competency” from a firearms instructor—and in Florida, literally anybody can represent himself as a firearms instructor and issue competency certificates. The state does not even know how many self-designated instructors are doing business in Florida, but they number in the thousands. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports:

      Managers at the Florida Division of Licensing, the state agency charged with issuing concealed-carry licenses, acknowledge that they have no authority to regulate how someone is trained, much less police the trainers themselves. The extent of their power is to deny the license application.

      It’s suspected, too, that some Florida gun trainers will sell a certificate of competency without the bother of any instruction at all.

      In no sane world would a florist require more training that someone with the ability to kill people.

      • Turtles, the question you should be asking yourself is, why on earth would the state of Florida impose such egregious burdens on would-be florists? I guarantee that the answer to that question will not reflect well on the morality, transparency, or incorruptibility of Florida state politicians.

      • way2gosassy says:

        That is troubling. When I took my CHL instructions it was 275.00 dollars and 16 hours of training and certifying at a gun range. My instructor was a retired cop. I understand that training time in Texas has been cut considerably and qualifying is not what it was when I took the course.

  8. “GOP stances on issues [such] as… gun control… are warped beyond usefulness by ingrained, unquestioned racism.”

    The doctor is in. Thank you for that insightful bit of psychoanalysis, Chris. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I have seen the light. I *finally* understand the root of my predilections. Why, I MUST BE A RACIST!!!

    Hey, just for clarity, did the New (and improved!) Black Panther Party come out for Ron Paul, too? Just wondering. BTW, ever notice my last name? Kinda weird, isn’t it? Turns out my people weren’t even around for that whole Civil War hoo-hah; they were still chowing down on fermented fish in Iceland! (Yeah, kinda gross. No wonder they wanted to beat feet.)

    I really do hope you derive maximum angst from your “messy” “heritage,” but, sorry, it ain’t mine.

    • vikinghou says:

      Tracy,

      Most of my family is still in Sweden. I’m the first generation born here. If your Icelandic relatives are anything like mine, they look at us like we’re from another planet. I grew up in Colorado and when I moved to Texas I thought I was on another planet! Sorry, I just don’t understand the gun thing, but I had more of a European upbringing even though I’m an American.

      BTW, you don’t like lutefisk? Or lefsa? Var så god!

      • Yep! And, lutefisk = gaak!, lefse = yum! Of course, from Mom’s side of the family we get borscht and gefilte fish. Talk about a gastronomically challenged heritage…

      • objv says:

        Tracy and Viking, I never had the guts to try lutefisk when I lived in Norway, but I got used to eating pickled herring for breakfast. You guys were getting me hungry, so I had to make do with sardines and fermented kraut. I washed it all down with some raw Kombucha. Yum!

      • vikinghou says:

        Lutefisk is an acquired taste for sure. My mother made Dad cook it outdoors so he wouldn’t stink up the house! We ate the fish on top of mashed potatoes. A strong mustard that he prepared was also essential (at least for me) to make it palatable. It was a New Year’s Eve tradition that my generation in the US hasn’t preserved. Memories.

      • objv says:

        Yes, memories … 🙂

    • vikinghou says:

      And another thing…

      Even though our ancestors weren’t around for the Civil War, we are Americans and by definition we all own that heritage. That’s part of citizenship.

    • Doug says:

      That quote is ironic when one considers the racist roots of most of our gun (and drug) laws.

    • Brent Uzzell says:

      Respectfully Tracy, these issues of heritage may in fact be “yours” if you were raised in the US. Socialization would have formed these ideas into your identity regardless of lineage. We are both a violent and white normative culture. We are all, black and white, formed in the mold. Until we honestly acknowledge both we are in trouble.

      Additionally the death of the common good since Reagan has had a profound effect and traumatizing effect as we each are struggle with a hyper-individualism that leaves us all struggling for survival and denies our basic need for belonging.

      To understand these issues see:

      What About Me: The Struggles for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaege

      Regeneration Through Violence by Richard Slotkin (actually a trilogy but his basic thesis is here)

      Racism without Racist by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

      BUT if you grew up in the South you really need to start here:

      Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South by Richard Nisbett

      After that you will understand the fetish of guns and violence in the US.

      • Brent, I grew up in Arizona. There were about a half dozen black guys in my class, all middle class. You could perhaps make a similar case for my attitude towards Hispanics and native Americans, except that most of my athletics buddies belonged to those ethnic groups. So sorry, try again. I’m not going play; I’m just not interested.

      • Brent Uzzell says:

        I wasn’t attacking your attitudes Tracy, I was pointing to a broader societal/cultural reality. The US is different from other countries as I know you are aware. Wasn’t critiquing.

      • objv says:

        Well, Tracy, my own theory is that liberal, white descendants of the Confederates inherited their intolerance from their own slave owning ancestors – the only difference being that they have transferred some of their prejudices from blacks to Republicans.

        How else can all the vitriol be explained? When asking for a photo ID or gun ownership is equated with racism, all I can conclude is that they stereotype conservative thinking as easily as their ancestors did black behavior.

        The majority of liberal inhabitants of this blog are in danger of becoming like lutefisk in lye if allowed to soak too long in this environment. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Well, the true Ob has finally emerged. I have been waiting for you to become emboldened enough to declare your deepest feelings. That you seemingly dismiss criticism of the radical element of your party is sad; to make a sweeping indictment of liberals is childish. Count this liberal as one who welcomes reasonable conservatives and unequivocally rejects all whose beliefs are hurtful – whichever party they champion. I have voted for Republicans when I could, but it has been a long time since the GOP platform allowed me that option. You see, Ob, it’s all a matter of degree – photo ID is absolutely valid if it’s fairly imposed, gun ownership is fine when legal and responsible (your two examples) – It’s all the other “stuff” that is getting in the way. And, ALL white southerners are not bad nor have they transferred racial animus to conservatives. The record of abuse by white supremacists is well documented. Defend that.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Still (willfully) lacking that nuance capability OV, eh? Carry on. Rorschach loves the likes of you. Oh, and get off that cross already. It’s some other wingnut’s turn for faux victimization whining.

      • objv says:

        Sorry, bubba. I was being satirical. Next time I’ll have to a humor meter at the end of my comments so you can understand when I’m joking.

      • objv says:

        Ha! I meant include a humor meter …

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Satirical my ass OV. again, you lack the nuance to even absorb a modicum of capability for “satire”. We all know your views and your intransigent intolerance you have “liberally” documented here ad nauseum. Have the courage to own your hate and distasteful “political” views instead of gutlessly waffling and backtracking when called on it.

        And you are your own punchline OV. No “satire” necessary.

      • objv says:

        Bubba, I did not realize you had an ass named Satirical.

      • objv says:

        Mime wrote (June 19): “NO, the Republican Party has some real soul-searching to do. They have encouraged this element; they own them. You own them.”

        ————————————————-

        I own them? So do you own the Black Panthers? PETA? Eco-terrorists or any extreme leftist group? Do you have to do any soul searching over them? Here is an example where you attacked the entire Republican party and me personally. Do you seriously believe that the majority of Republicans or I condone the shooting of eight innocent, African-American people in a church?

        I wrote the post tongue in cheek, but I have yet to hear of any Democrat agonizing over possible intolerance in their own ranks.

      • 1mime says:

        Ov, I admit my “satire meter” is not finely tuned, so I did not see your piece as humor. The Republican Party has encouraged the extreme elements of their party by failing to publicly rebuke them for outrageous comments and actions. As Lifer has pointed out clearly and objectively, the GOP has accepted this fringe group into the party for its own purposes and has refused to discipline them. At this point, I don’t know if that is possible, but there certainly have been many opportunities for the GOP to speak out that they have ducked.

        As a conservative and supporter of the Republican Party, you share responsibility for the stands they take and don’t take, just as I do for the Democratic Party. We have individual responsibilities within our party of choice to speak out when wrongs are committed. Not speaking up sends a message of permissiveness. Accept that or not, I don’t care.

        No one in their right mind (of which there are some) condoned the murder of the Black parishioners. I don’t know why you stated something that absurd. But, there has been a hue and cry for decades about the symbolism of the Confederate flag (and its splinter groups) and it shouldn’t take a loss as painful and wrong as the one in Charleston for GOP leadership to act. Not doing so years earlier makes the gesture less genuine although I am glad they are doing so. Why did it take this tragedy to get their attention?

        I will point out once more: when is the last time (or first time) you have ever heard of a Black person attacking White parishioners in a White church? Ever. Over decades. When? If it ever did, it would be just as wrong, but the venom has always been directed towards Black Churches because of how important the sanctuary is for this culture. That – is fact.

        As for Democrats owning up to radical elements in our group – you’re reaching waaay back to the Black Panthers. Let’s see, in 1966, I was 23 years old. I remember seeing the burning and looting and rioting and being horrified, but I wasn’t “worldly” enough to understand what was going on. When it happened in Ferguson, President Obama said the riots were the wrong way to express their anger and frustration and I completely agree.

        Please tell me exactly what intolerance within Democratic ranks you are referring to? I would love to respond. I am sure it exists but give me examples. I’m sure some would think me intolerant because I have voted Republican occasionally, and support fair changes to the social safety net and support the Trade Agreement. There’s plenty I don’t agree with which is why I usually vote Democrat.

      • Aw, come on ladies, can’t we all just play nice? The last thing we need here is a (satirical) cat fight!

        (Ouch. That was awful. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Imp of the perverse, and all that. 😉 I guess ol’ Stanley Kubrick got it right. You can take the ape out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the ape.)

      • 1mime says:

        I assume that was a rhetorical question, Tracy….I haven’t noticed you being shy about responding when you felt the need. But, since you asked, here’s how Andy Capp, an old comic strip favorite handled the girl thing:

        “First, they asks you the question; then, they gives you the answer; then, you’re still wrong!”

        It’s simple.

      • LOL, 1mime – you got that right! 🙂

      • bubbabobcat says:

        That’s right OV; glad you noticed my ass alone is capable of more biting and nuanced legitimate “satire” than your wingnut whinefest rubbish you cowardly backtrack from and hastily and cluelessly categorize as “satire”.

        And since you still haven’t figured it out by now, you were grasping for the word “sarcasm” which you swung at and missed and which it is not also. You’re welcome. School’s out.

  9. BigWilly says:

    Stripping them of external memory and teaching an unobjective history of the south seems to be a bad idea to me. Politically there seems to be a tendency to reach the conclusion the if it is not A than it must be something else. You proceed from there to fill in the blank with your own conclusions. Generally speaking they seem to be the opposite of your understanding.

    I don’t care to spin in that direction. I can live without the Confederate Flag. I would prefer an unromanticized version of history. I would also like more breadth, more depth, and an increase in the number of colors for the palatte. White man bad, I get it but can’t you nutters get a little deeper.

    Watch some Terrence Malik, or something.

    • 1mime says:

      No, you don’t get it if all you’re hearing is “white man bad”. That emphatically is Not what is being said. The lament is for reason to prevail, for equality to be practiced not politicized, for people to respect each others’ differences and common needs and reject those beliefs and actions that hurt or denigrate others. THAT involves all of us of every race, gender and ethnicity. That most definitely is not a sweeping indictment of the white man. Yes, there are those who choose to ignore basic tenets of decency, and, in doing so, cause pain and suffering for others. That is wrong, BW, just like your Bible tells you and common decency tells is all. You wouldn’t do these things but there are many who do so without compunction.

  10. E says:

    I really love everything you write. You are one of the sharpest, most honest voices on the internet. Thank you.

    Also, you haven’t seen this article, I think you’ll really like it.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201506/anti-intellectualism-is-killing-america

    • 1mime says:

      Excellent article E. I thought the comment that countered with “no, self-centeredness is killing America” was valid as was the theory in a recent article I posted suggesting that the problem is “willful ignorance”.

      So, let’s see. We have: abandonment of reason; self-centeredness; and willful ignorance. That’s gonna be a pretty tough nut to crack. I mean, how do you appeal to someone who doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know and is self-centered? Sure helps to understand why so many vote against their personal best interests. Something deeper is at work here – or, maybe it’s never going to be possible to get logic to penetrate….

  11. Turtles Run says:

    Looks like we have to wait another year for the south to rise again. Oh, well I got the only flag of the south that really mattered

    warning Onion article

    http://www.theonion.com/article/south-postpones-rising-again-for-yet-another-year-377

  12. flypusher says:

    No

    Holds

    Barred

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7640654

    TR we need more of that popcorn!

    • 1mime says:

      And, the message from the post?

      Knock on more doors. Stand up don’t stay quiet. Make people uncomfortable who are quiet racists. Make people uncomfortable who aren’t but aren’t speaking up. It takes more than one, it takes a nation. But it can start with each of us.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        No, Mime, I disagree. You can’t go onto people’s private property and accost them because you don’t like what they display on their lawn. Knocking on the door will get you a polite but firm refusal the first time but after that you may get a door slammed in your face but more likely just no answer at all. Do it often enough and it’s trespassing. And no, I’m not talking about getting shot by the homeowner, only that a person’s home is off limits and must be respected.

        I don’t think making people squirm is a good idea, either. If the subject happens to come up, politely disagree with them, state your views, and leave it at that. Forcing your ideas on others is not the solution. It just turns people off.

        I know that’s not your style, but I can see how easy it could be to get carried away.

      • 1mime says:

        I was speaking figuratively, Tutta…meaning, we all too often demur when we have an opportunity to inform or share. No one wants to be intimidated or confronted, but there are opportunities to teach and I think we do have to seize the moment. I don’t intend to accost anyone in their home just as I don’t expect my yard sign to be stolen (it was…of course it was for O in my neighborhood but it had to be someone from outside the hood cause this here’s only a bunch of white folk – ha!)…point is, the easy path is to associate with those of like mind and ignore the rest. That’s not getting us anywhere. I am not for an in your face approach and I don’t challenge people but I will defend/explain my views if the situation allows.

        As I have said, being one of six siblings teaches you how to scrap – selectively (-:

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Nor is intimidation the solution to getting people to change their views.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt – No one said anything about intimidation. Instead take opportunities to shoot down such corrupt language.

      • 1mime says:

        You make a good point, Turtles, and one I didn’t adequately develop in my response to Tutta. How do you people change their minds unless and until they start to feel “uncomfortable” in their views? This doesn’t have to come as a result of badgering, but it shouldn’t come as a result of 9 fine Black people being murdered in their own church, it comes by each of us risking a little safety – in our comfort zones for speaking out – not harshly, but quietly and with heart, about why these things are wrong. Some people and some things are not learned easily – the light doesn’t just “go on”, this is a big problem and will take a big effort from all of us – and how we reach out will be very individual, but reach out we must because wishing and staying quiet hasn’t got the job done. We won’t reach all – hence the huge confederate flag sales – but there are people who may be genuinely bothered by what is happening and re-happening and these people will respond to us if we try. I believe that.

    • flypusher says:

      This is the part that I find to be very troubling food for thought:

      “But it was a war based on a fundamental social conflict that is still not resolved and simmers under the zeitgeist, rearing its ugly head every so often to remind us it hasn’t gone anywhere. It was not resolved in 1865, not in 1965, and sadly, not in 2015.

      The “heritage” of the Confederacy, the enduring belief in Lost Cause romanticism, the invention and adoption of revisionist “traditions” and culture, has become society’s Old Faithful: a cultural geyser that periodically lets off steam; a spectacle at which we ogle and wax poetic about the fragility of our condition. But one day it’ll explode and it’ll be a catastrophe from which we might not recover.

      The tragedy of America is that this is all self-inflicted. This trajectory to self-destruction doesn’t have to be the outcome. As Jon Stewart so eloquently pointed out, “Al Qaeda… ISIS… they’re not shit on the damage we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”
      =======

      The USA was born with a birth defect. The Civil War was harsh medicine, but the murder of Lincoln and bad leadership right after the war meant that it wasn’t completely cured. So here it still is, like a few cancer cells that escaped the earlier treatments, feeding off ignorance and self-delusion, growing and again threatening the health of our republic.

      I worry about the homegrown extremists more than the foreign ones.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Popcorn and refreshments

  13. RobA says:

    Way too early to tell, but we may very well look back at this flag moment as the turning point.

    It in itself is not an overly huge moment, but it seems to me that this is the first time in recent memory that the GOP stops obviously pandering to the lunatic fringe.

    Since almost everytjing in politics is a political calculation, if the response from this is good (I. E. If polls show that this move increased more support for the GOP then it lost. I.e. a net political gain) you could see this as the template for similar actions on a number of other issues.

    • flypusher says:

      “Way too early to tell, but we may very well look back at this flag moment as the turning point.”

      If so, it would be a fitting memorial to 9 people who were unjustly repaid for their kindness with death.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, you did see Fly’s post about the soaring Confederate flag sales? Sort of like all the gun and ammo sales when the NRA ginned up its fear campaign that the gubmint was comin’ for their guns! Hot damn!

  14. Brent Uzzell says:

    OT but too good not to pass along. Texas, to small to be a super power, to large to be an asylum. I think we may really be spinning apart.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/vladimir-putin-texas-secession-119288.html#.VYm0YlKbRqA

  15. flypusher says:

    Some Confederate flag economics. Fascinating.

    http://news.yahoo.com/sales-of-confederate-flags-are-soaring-153357290.html;_ylt=A0LEVzcWs4lVpxoAOr1x.9w4;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–

    There is a temptation to get one for June 27, but I still don’t want any of MY $ going there. So I’ll just cheer from the sidelines.

  16. Crogged says:

    Motives are interesting things-and I’m not a Christian-but……..

    Philippians 1:18

  17. flypusher says:

    This is what I what to see- an open, public debate, aired in prime time, about the CSA and the Lost Cause and what it was really all about. On the it was about White supremacy/ Black subjugation side, I would nominate Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates. Let the CSA apologists who claim it was really about state’s rights and tariffs and non-racist stuff pick their champion. Then let’s get ready to Ruuuuuummmmbllllllllllle!!!!

  18. vikinghou says:

    The media have invested a lot of time and attention on the “Confederate flag” issue. Yes, it needs to go. But the outsize focus on this and the nonstop commentary seems to give the impression that taking down the Confederate flag in South Carolina will somehow make things “better” after the massacre. This is great symbolism, but it doesn’t address any of the issues that need to be resolved to end the prevalent racism in this country–issues like poverty, gun violence, incarceration of African American men, police abuse, lack of access to health care and college, voter suppression, unemployment in traditionally African American communities and a host of other difficult issues. Removing the flag will essentially be theatre.

    • flypusher says:

      It’s symbolic, which can be empty, or can be used as start towards addressing all those other, more serious issues.

      What we make of it is up to us.

      • 1mime says:

        “it’s what ‘we’ make of it”….Fly, it’s not me and it’s not you, it’s them. I can only control my own choices and try to influence those immediately around me (that’s ‘iffy’ too as all of us who have family gatherings where politics comes up know). I’m with Viking – the flag is better than nothing, but the hard work remains to be done. And the people who need to do it haven’t shown me a lot of deep understanding of their need for change – I hear “no one can justify killings like this…” but – they keep happening and happening… I don’t have the answer to this but I know that the answer lies in changing people’s deepest beliefs and that is not going to be easy or quick.

      • flypusher says:

        The way I see it 1mime, it’s up to us to call out the people who try to revise history, and put the screws to the politicians who pander to the ilk of CSA apologists.

      • 1mime says:

        Been doing that for a long time, Fly. And, I won’t quit but it will require more, much more. I don’t want to be negative, obviously (I’m a Democrat, remember (-: !) but this fight has got to be enjoined by many, many more people. I’ve been at this a very long time and this last 7 years was disheartening from the standpoint of all the ugliness. Obviously, one keeps trying and hoping and maybe change will come. I want it to but I can’t make it so on my own.

      • vikinghou says:

        “I can only control my own choices and try to influence those immediately around me (that’s ‘iffy’ too as all of us who have family gatherings where politics comes up know).”

        Don’t I know???! I learned that lesson the hard way. In my family politics is verboten around the Thanksgiving dinner table!

      • flypusher says:

        Had a bit of a family reunion a few weeks ago, and those of us in the left wing (and by left wing I mean center/center-left) had a chance to talk among ourselves. We were relived that nobody else so far wanted to talk about any of the 2016 candidates and we decided we would avoid bringing that topic up.

        And peace prevailed.

      • Crogged says:

        Oh yeah, I know this feeling way too well……..experience it every summer myself.

  19. flypusher says:

    An interview I heard yesterday, with SC state rep Doug Brannon:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=416538096

    Rep Brannon, my condolences for the loss of your friend and colleague, and my kudos for the courage and honesty to admit that you should have acted sooner, and to act now despite political risks.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Yes, I heard him, too. I was struck by his honesty.

    • 1mime says:

      Rep Brannon spoke these words in response to taking a stand that might cost him his seat, which I quote: “I’m going to do my job until I lose my job. And if I lose it over this, I will lose with a smile.”

      Hallelujah!

  20. tuttabellamia says:

    I don’t have a problem with the display of the Confederate flag on one’s private property, vehicle, or clothing, but I do have a problem with it being displayed on government property or anything government-related, because government sites are supposed to represent all of us. Practically speaking, it’s unnecessary and serves no purpose, since we do have the freedom to display it on a personal level if we so desire, and government can continue to function without it; and symbolically speaking, it is offensive to many, especially to the Black community, to whom we still owe a debt for past transgressions. Monetary reparations may be incalculable and therefore impossible, but removing a flag is an easy yet incredibly powerful way to make amends for the sins of the past.

    Free speech and respect for one’s heritage are not being sacrificed or compromised. We can continue to do that, but on our own time and in our own space.

    • Turtles Run says:

      I agree. Plus it is a good way to identify a$$holes

    • 1mime says:

      Does anyone here remember the brouhaha that enraged – Enraged – conservatives that Pres. Obama elected not to wear the American flag lapel pin? Obama’s view was he didn’t need the external symbol to prove or declare his support for America – he lived his democratic beliefs. He was harangued until he finally caved and stuck the stupid pin in his suit.

      I often think about the fact that symbols mean different things to different people. Some really, really need them to proclaim their beliefs – just like all the pseudo-Christians who attend Sunday services but lead a mighty interesting life outside the sanctuary – both in thought and deed…

      My point is really in agreement with Tutta – if you want to wear something – that’s your right and on you for the responses it generates. But, if something is erected in the public’s name, it should be inclusive, not divisive – otherwise, as Obama said, put the confederate flag in a museum.

    • objv says:

      Tutt: Having grown up in Ohio, I never really could understand the South’s affinity for the Confederate flag. I wouldn’t dream of flying the Nazi flag which is associated with my German heritage! That said, I do see that the loss of life during the Civil War was extraordinary and the families of the men who died would like to honor their memories.

      It’s often windy in NM and I have a German flag windsock flying bravely in the breeze right now. I plan on alternating windsocks from areas of the world identified by my husband’s and my DNA tests. I’ll have to get flags from England, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Israel and a West African country (perhaps 23andMe will be able to get more specific in the future). Of course, an American flag will be in front of our house during holidays. We will definitely not be flying the Confederate flag or windsock. 🙂

  21. BigWilly says:

    The irony is that as a former member of the HCRP I was a minority within the fringe. When I lived up in WI a moderate GOPer was a fringer, and possibly nutter to boot. The Liberals taunted me. When you marginalize the evangelicals all Christians are affected because we share the same book as our source code, if you will.

    If you marginalize gun collectors as “gun nuts” I believe they will spend at least $100,000,000 to stop you in your tracks.

    The GOP needs to separate itself from certain standpoints as a party, but do we need to abandon the South? How will that work? It’s not all bad, here in TX. The compromise is within the party, not with the Liberals. If we can get the party back on track by enhancing our understanding, rather than eating our own, I think then we can get down to the business of removing the Dems from their urban strongholds.

    Personally, I think America will collapse under the weight of its self-created idiocy.

  22. Xeranar says:

    Removing the flag doesn’t remove the fact that they’re still intrinsically tied to the racist system they propagated. Without the social conservatism what do they really have? A sea of economic policies that have been disproved by economists? A marching order to become blue dogs? It’s basically a problem because while there are multiple ways to get an economy to function the way to minimize income inequality runs counter to the core of Republican economic policy so unless they can keep those neo-confederate votes what is the party but an empty suit.

    Mitt Romney and his allies need those neo-confederates and while I welcome finally driving them from the socially-accepted position they’ve held for far too long what can you as a GOP lifer really want from this but to be left as center-left Democrats that have vacated the position to move closer to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders which makes me happy but clearly won’t enthrall the people they’re leaving behind. Viva the revolution, but lets not pretend decoupling the racists from the Romneys will suddenly make either palatable to the upcoming generations.

  23. 1mime says:

    Wonderful commentary, Lifer. Let us hope that to make continued progress, it won’t require another heinous act. I am cynical about the genuineness of Gov. Haley’s actions but at this point, it’s all smoke and mirrors anyway. As you stated, if it creates an environment that shelters doing the right thing EVEN if it’s not genuine, it is still valuable. The price for doing nothing is more lives lost. That’s not acceptable.

  24. stephen says:

    I remember in the late sixties in high school hearing every morning the Battle Hymn of the Republic over the loud speakers. At that time someone from rural Alabama would of felt at home in Orlando Florida where I lived. We are much different ethnically now. That song has nothing in it supporting racism.

    After we started integrating the new teachers and pupils told school officials that particular song was objectionable to them for historical reasons being associated with the Confederacy.

    The song was replaced and the explanation give to the still large majority of us was that this small pleasure offended other people and we would rather give that up than do that. I remember the explanation was accepted with out any argument. Being intolerant and uncaring is not necessarily a southern thing.

    • Xeranar says:

      The Battle Hymn of the Republic was really not that common during the Civil War but certainly was preferred by Union Soldiers, it’s basically a rewording of John Brown’s Body which is an abolitionist hymn. You’re probably referring to Dixie which was written almost a decade after the Civil War but was the growing white resentment encapsulated in song form.

      We still sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic often, nearly as often as the Star Spangled Banner.

  25. Crogged says:

    And Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn needs to be mentioned for his bravery too. Symbolic gestures are far removed from empty gestures.

    • 1mime says:

      Let us hope so, Crogged. It just seems that these gestures are so short-lived and crisis-dependent. But, as Lifer said, you gotta start somewhere and if these people – for whatever reason – make a statement of support for addressing racism, I will be cautiously optimistic. Note Scott Walker flip flopped in his position…can’t wait to hear how Jindal and Huckabee will couch their remarks.

    • vikinghou says:

      Former MS governor Haley Barbour was on “Morning Joe” this morning. Despite repeated attempts by Mika Brzezinski to solicit his opinion about the Confederate flag, he obfuscated and refused to give her a direct answer. It was actually pretty funny.

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