In Alabama, Confederate emblems come quietly down

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An unidentified state worker detaches a flag from a post at a Confederate memorial outside the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. (Birmingham News)

I think I know a tipping point when I see one.

And when the Republican governor of Alabama, the successor to men such as George Wallace, voluntarily and independently orders the removal of the Confederate battle flag flying over a Confederate memorial outside the state Capitol in Montgomery — that, ladies and gentlemen, is a tipping point.

As the Birmingham News reports:

“After the battle flag – which is at the center of the controversy – was gone, workers began removing three other Civil War era flags.

They are the First National Confederate Flag, commonly preferred to as the “Stars and Bars;” the second flag is the Second National Confederate Flag, more commonly known as the “Stainless Banner;” and the last flag standing is the Third National Confederate Flag.

…The cornerstone of the Confederate monument was laid by Jefferson Davis, president of the CSA (Confederate States of America) on April 29, 1880.”

I wouldn’t mind being the person who broke that news to Dylann Roof. This is what you wrought, little man. You provided the last little hateful nudge to topple a symbol that should have been retired a century and a half ago. You stripped away the threadbare cloak of deniability and made it impossible to defend an indefensible fiction any longer. Out of an act of violence and hate has come redemption.

sonsofconfederatesThe ramifications have been swift and impressive. The Board of Visitors at the Citadel, for example, has voted to ask the South Carolina Legislature for permission to remove the battle flag from its chapel. (The mere fact that it has to ask for such legislative permission speaks volumes.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has spoken out in favor of removing a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky Capitol. Several Southern states are withdrawing Confederate-themed license plates from circulation.

Here in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal initially defended the continued issuance of a Confederacy-themed state license plate, then hastily reconsidered and announced the plate would be “redesigned.” I suspect even that strategic retreat will be reconsidered in favor of abolishing the plate altogether. Deal claims the plate amounts to a personal statement by an individual, rather than an endorsement by the state, but that stance ignores the reality that the plate is issued by the state, as an official act.

My favorite story, though, comes out of Texas, which recently won a Supreme Court fight allowing the state to refuse to issue a Confederacy-themed plate. As the New York Times reports it:

“In Austin, Tex., a tall bearded man went into the tattoo parlor where Kelly Barr works with a request: the removal a 10-year-old tattoo of the Confederate flag.

He told Mr. Barr that he had decided to get the flag removed when he saw the pained look on a middle-age black woman at his gym on Monday.

“ ‘If South Carolina can take theirs down,’ ” Mr. Barr recalled him saying, “ ‘I can take mine down.’ ” I told him, ‘Right on.’ ”

As I note in a column in today’s AJC, some white Southerners fear that once the Confederate flag disappears, other familiar icons will be targeted next for removal, including the stone statues of Civil War soldiers that stand sentinel over so many small towns across the South. That fear isn’t groundless, but I hope it doesn’t happen, and I would argue strongly that it should not.

Those statues, like the carving on Stone Mountain, are clearly part of our history. They should no more be obliterated than should the few remaining slave cabins or plantation homes in Georgia. They remind us of what we once were and how far we have come, and there is immense value in that. We should not seek historical amnesia or whitewashing of our shared past, only assurance that what belongs in the past remains there, and that we celebrate only those things worth celebrating.

Reader Comments 0

1510 comments
barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Climate Change is now recognized as a problem worldwide.


THANK YOU !

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Abortion is still a matter between a woman and her doctor.


THANK YOU !

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is being returned to retirement.


THANK YOU !

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Obamacare is here to stay and it's always going to be Obamacare.


THANK YOU !

honested
honested

Does this mean our General Assembly will awaken to the 21st Century and join in provision of Civilized healthcare access to Georgia Citizens?

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s

context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows

tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under

the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to

function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the

type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.

Pp. 20–21.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

Supreme court upheld subsidies...guess today liberals love SCOTus

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TBS 

Unsportsmanlike conduct.  Taunting.  15 yard penalty.  Automatic first down.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Roberts gets what escapes our rank and file grumblers : Obamacare needed to survive. After all, it was of good Republican stock all along.

DunwoodyGranny
DunwoodyGranny

I think it was less about politics and more about common sense. The majority opinion noted the bill contains other instances of "inartful drafting" but that the overall intent was to strengthen the health insurance market rather than destroy it.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@DunwoodyGranny



Yup.  The balance of the language and implementation supported decision similar to logic of lower court.


Now we get to deal with the real horrors that are predictably rearing up in terms of costs, too big to fail providers, and the actual affordability issue.

TBS
TBS

@LeninTime


Corporate interests that support both sides are partying today

LeninTime
LeninTime

So with right wing conservative Republicans in the South going wobbly over the Confederate flag, and now their Supreme Court chief justice betrays them once again, what will our far right friends do? 

Make way for the big whine.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@LeninTime


What such GOP are fighting to keep the flag?


Are a material number of them that matter going to bemoan this development or are you just jumping on the "gop are racist" bandwagon?

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"Jackson and Sharpton are dependent upon folks like her, 53."


I'll bet ME gives more money to Jackson/Sharpton than she does to the causes she claims to care about.

TBS
TBS

Who was the blogger that stated numerous times Roberts was going to correct his mistake? 

Guess Roberts didn't think he made a mistake, huh? 

Time to chalk him up as just another liberal activist judge

DunwoodyGranny
DunwoodyGranny

SCOTUS just upheld Obamacare, 6-3. Chief Justice Roberts writing for the Court.

Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

@DunwoodyGranny

Score another victory for The Great Black One. 

He just keeps on racking up victories. 

Con apoplexy about to reach DEFCON Level 9,382,883,195,392. 

LeninTime
LeninTime

LOL, Roberts. Just as I predicted.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

Chief, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan voted in favor. The rest, well you know.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@DownInAlbany how conservatives still don't have to come up with a plan to replace obamacare with because they lost again?

GaGirl53171875
GaGirl53171875

folks who say that black people aren't slaves any more, they should get over it. Hmmmm... Have we finished the 150th Anniversary Civil War commemorations yet?