Republican presidential candidates are supporting South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for the removal of the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds following last week’s church shooting in Charleston.
“Kudos to @nikkihaley and all the SC leaders standing with her for doing the right thing,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted on Twitter.
“I fully support Governor Haley’s leadership today in calling for the flag to come down,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said. “This is a decision for South Carolina to make and they are now starting that process. Like Governor Haley, I believe the flag should come down.”
“The decision to remove the Confederate flag needs to be made by the people of South Carolina, and Gov. Haley’s leadership today honors the people of Charleston, and the families of the victims of last week’s horrific hate crime,” former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
Make no mistake. This marks no fundamental shift in Republican politics. This turnabout required only the self-awareness God gave a bucket of KFC and it will last about as long. The party that for years has prospered by the Confederate flag’s aficionados may be abandoning the colors but they’ll never shake the creed. What they are really saying, when they take that banner down, is that from now on we should stick to the racism of economics, which is only visible to those who suffer by it.
From now on we should stick to the racism that says if one black person at a protest wears a rude T-shirt, the entire protest is invalid.
From now on we should stick to the racism that says that if black children didn’t want to get shot walking to school, they should just move out of that neighborhood.
From now on we should stick to the racism that says that “parental involvement” would fix a school with a hole in the roof and chains on the doors.
You know, the cultured racism. The refined racism. The racism that doesn’t call itself racism because hey, it’s not like it’s flying a Confederate flag or anything. It’s not some Duck Dynasty Whiskey Tango trailer park hoedown and because of that, it’s so much more vicious.
Taking down a flag, well, you can see the flag. It’s there for all to see. That’s wrong and it’s crazy and nowhere else on earth would a nation that won a war allow its vanquished foe to pretend it had any claim to glory because we just keep repeating this bullshit over and over, but the flag is out there. The redlining, the block panics, the shifting of a résumé from one pile to another, the founding of a school in one place versus the next, those are not as obvious as something flying high above the statehouse.
Those glorious causes will last. Republican politicians will continue to champion them, and the South will rise again.