The Confederate Battle Flag and the 2012 Presidential Election
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
The South Carolina primary is one of the earliest primaries in the nation. It will be coming up very early next year. Sure to be an issue is the Confederate Battle Flag. See, there are those among us who will make certain it is an issue. Many, if not most, of those who cannot wait to involve one of South Carolina’s most treasured heritage symbols are members of the mainstream media. With a southerner from one of the most important states of the Confederacy sure to be within the top three leading GOP candidates seeking the Republican nomination for President of the US -- there is simply NO WAY it will not be made an issue.
So, before the liberal media clouds the waters concerning my home and its relationship with and to the Confederate Battle Flag, I thought I would get ahead of the curve, so to speak, and provide a bit of insight on that relationship through the eyes of a born and raised “sandlapper.”
As ridiculous as it may seem, there are some people in America who believe that South Carolina should forsake its southern heritage in favor of, well… money, ie: tourist dollars, dollars from athletic events, and such. As a proud native South Carolinian I think I can safely say our answer to that is: “KISS MY GRITS!”
Look, I AM a native South Carolinian, or “sandlapper,” as we affectionately call ourselves. I was born there, and I was raised there, and everything I do, and everything I have done in my life… up to now… has its roots in South Carolina. I’m a resident of North Carolina, and have been for 50 years, but my heart will always be in my home of South Carolina.
South Carolina is a small state, which thinks it is at least as large as Texas, maybe even Alaska! It is, as they say: a state of mind. Sandlappers are a proud people, black and white… and Native American.
The state is absolutely beautiful. The rolling hills of its piedmont are awesome and the northwestern mountains are breathtaking in beauty. The South Carolina coast is an absolute jewel (Myrtle Beach). White sands and blue water sparkles all year ‘round. I guess living amid such beauty has an effect on Sandlappers.
You cannot live in Paradise and not be affected by it. You can’t live in Paradise and not defend it -- just the way it is. The last thing you want is for somebody, anybody, to come into your paradise and attempt to change it by force, or coercion, or any other way. It’s YOUR paradise and you don’t want it changed, period!
My folks sailed into the harbor of a little South Carolina coastal city, by the name of Charles Town, in 1789. My family is still there.
The people of South Carolina are nothing if they aren’t “spunky.” They’ll stick their collective thumbs into the eye of the biggest giant around. They will defy any entity, which trys to force them into any sort of submissive state. Take Great Britain and the United States of America, for instance. (Somewhere Cornwallis is still cussing South Carolina.) Sandlappers led the way when they broke away from a repressive US government in 1861. So… they won one and lost one. Both were honorable efforts on the part of South Carolina, and THAT is what matters! In fact -- it matters a LOT!
The battle over the Confederate Battle Flag is a battle only in the minds of folks who don’t live in South Carolina, or are misled, misguided, mistaken, and miserably uninformed about the history of the Confederate Battle Flag itself. .
The facts on the ground, as they say, are summed up this way: The people of South Carolina have made the decision that the flag will never leave public view, and they simply don’t care what you, or I, or anyone else, thinks about it. What others may want for the Confederate Battle Flag is of no concern, whatsoever, to the folks of South Carolina.
As I said, no matter what you may think, the CBF (Confederate Battle Flag) is a celebration of South Carolina’s Heritage.
No people, anywhere, adore and esteem their ancestors more than do the people of my home state. The quickest way I know of to get a sharp rap across one’s nose is to make a disparaging remark about a sandlapper’s Confederate ancestors.
So, when “outsiders” (that’s anyone not a citizen of South Carolina) take it upon themselves to rail against SC history, of which that flag is an honored part, and go even farther and dictate how South Carolina should behave… then it is sure to backfire and bring a great deal of dismay upon the “outsider”.
In the Iodine State, when you try to equate money with heritage, it can’t be done. Heritage, in South Carolina, is more valuable than money. One’s heritage is one’s identity.
It makes no difference whether you believe us when we say the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of our heritage, a heritage of which we are proud. We simply don’t care if you disagree!
Far from hurting South Carolina’s economy the NAACP boycott has done no measurable harm to the state’s economy. Tourism dollars in the state have continued to rise since its beginning. The NCAA boycott is just a minor annoyance. Nobody, much, is concerned about it… save for the colleges and universities themselves… and the diehard fans. But, when questioned, SC fans will tell you they would rather contend with the NCAA boycott than take down their ancestor’s flag.
When the battle flag was placed atop the capitol dome, about 100 years after the War of Northern Aggression and Sherman’s burning of Columbia, it was placed there as a visible warning to tyrannical government. It was saying: “Hey! Remember us? We’re still here -- and we’re still opposed to any move by the government to take, or curtail, our freedom.” The CBF flies every day as a warning to tyrants everywhere -- even in Washington, DC.
Here’s a little known fact about the current placement of the Confederate Battle Flag in the state’s capitol. When the South Carolina legislature voted to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol Dome, and set it permanently at the most visible point in the entire city, the Confederate Monument, the legislature included the provision that the Confederate Battle Flag could NEVER be moved, by any vote of the State Legislature… except a 2/3rds vote of both houses. That’s not going to happen… at least for the next 100 years, or so.
The South is known for its hospitality. And South Carolina is certainly a past master at the practice of Southern hospitality. But keep one thing in mind. If the visitor abuses the hospitality of my home state, they will be invited to leave and never return! And that is as it should be!
So, to wind this up, the NAACP and the NCAA and the mainstream media might just as well move on to greener pastures, for they are only spinning their wheels, and getting zero traction, in the red clay and sandy loam of my home, South Carolina!
So, after the debates, after the voting in the SC primary – even after the vote on Election Day in November of 2012 -- the Confederate Battle Flag will STILL be flying from the mast at the Confederate Monument near the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets on the State House grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. And THAT TOO is as it should be!
J. D. Longstreet