Day in South Carolina:
The NAACP Strikes Again
January 21, a couple of hundred NAACP-led protesters braved rainy
weather to engage in what has become a familiar scene on Martin
Luther King Jr. day in South Carolina: protesting the continued
presence of the Confederate flag on the State House grounds.
years ago, the NAACP led a well-orchestrated and much larger crowd
(having bussed in thousands of people from out of state) in one
of the largest marches in state history. Of course, prior to July
1, 2000, the flag was on the Dome of the State House. The infamous
compromise worked out by the South Carolina General Assembly brought
it down and raised a square version atop a 30-foot pole behind the
Confederate Soldier Monument, where it still stands.
NAACP was not satisfied. (Compromises, of course, rarely please
anybody.) The organization has continued to press for taking the
Confederate flag off the State House grounds altogether and putting
it in a museum.
other words, even with the flag off the dome and in a place of historical
significance only, the NAACP has kept up the tourism boycott that
started on January 1, 2000. The boycott has been, for the most part,
a failure despite the dominant media’s (i.e., out-of-state owned
newspapers’) attempts to maintain otherwise. While a few conventions
and family reunions were cancelled, overall tourism was up in South
Carolina. All one had to do to see this was visit Myrtle Beach or
any of the other major resort areas. These places were alive with
activity. Hotels and motels were not standing empty.
the flag off the dome, most South Carolinians considered the matter
a closed book. Now, with its efforts to move the flag again being
ignored both by the General Assembly and by a public weary of the
issue, the NAACP is trying a new gambit. The organization has officially
announced it will launch protests at major border crossings into
South Carolina over the next month, these being along the interstate
highways. These protests will present information about the ongoing
boycott to those entering the state, reminding travelers that the
tourism boycott of South Carolina is still in place and recommending
that they not spend money here. The NAACP will also set up a presence
at rest stops.
spokesmen call it a "border patrol." Said national field
director Nelson B. Rivers III, "The border patrol is our way
of standing at the Georgia and North Carolina borders (and asking)
that you not stop, not stay in hotels, and don’t buy gas" in
South Carolina. "Or better yet, that you turn around."
added, "We will not stop until the Confederate flag has been
put where it should be out of sight, out of mind."
speaker warned, "We’re going to bring havoc to South Carolina,
with assistance from all over America."
wonders how far the NAACP intends to go with this. Will activists
eventually start initiating physical confrontations with those who
ignore them (as most people will doubtless do)? To the extent their
scheme succeeds, it will mean less money spent at South Carolina
businesses. Less money means layoffs and fewer jobs at a time when
the economy is already in a recession. Many of those laid off will
be minorities. Leave it to the NAACP’s so-called leadership to initiate
a program that will hurt ordinary working blacks. Boycotts always
have this effect, regardless of the circumstances. They hurt the
little people, not those they aim at (look at Iraq). As usual, the
elites never suffer the consequences of their actions. Perhaps,
however, they plan to staff their "border patrols" with
blacks who have lost jobs courtesy of this boycott.
latest NAACP brain drizzle may place the group on collision course
with the state’s legal system, however. S.C. Attorney General Charlie
Condon has threatened to sue the NAACP. Condon recently stated,
"It’s an illegal secondary boycott and so on behalf of the
State of South Carolina I’m going to be looking into the possibility
of bringing a lawsuit against them for monetary damages."
else can he do? Obviously there is no reasoning with the NAACP’s
so-called leaders; one might as well not try. One can only hope
that the vast majority of travelers will successfully ignore them.
Meanwhile, there is a movement – still underground but present,
nevertheless – to reverse the compromise that brought the Confederate
flag down. A march and rally was held last Saturday, during which
flag supporters called for the flag’s return to the Dome; a handful
of flag supporters were around on January 21. They still consider
themselves betrayed by Republican legislators in the General Assembly
who had been defenders of keeping the flag up but signed off on
the compromise. In his new book Defending
My Heritage, Maurice Bessinger – well known South Carolina
barbecue entrepreneur and flag supporter – has issued the first
public statement calling for returning the Confederate flag to where
it was. He also wants to see the South Carolina State Flag atop
the State House in support of state sovereignty as spelled out in
the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
That’s right: this movement would remove the U.S. flag, and fly
it exclusively over federal property. In this view, the state flag
should fly by itself over state property. Bessinger calls this "Constitutional
General Assembly hasn’t paid any of this a whole lot of attention.
In a state struggling with recession, the government of which is
mired in budgetary problems (from trying to do too much, of course),
this is what we would expect. However, it is interesting how this
issue keeps landing in the General Assembly’s lap. You see, a number
of years ago the legislative body "fixed" things so that
legally only it could move the flag. Whenever any governmental entity
gives itself a power, watch out! It will either use that power in
a sneak attack, be held hostage by pressure groups, or both. Last
year the Georgia state legislature also under NAACP fire because
of the Confederate flag contained within the Georgia state flag pulled
a sneak attack and unilaterally gave Georgia a new flag. This incurred
the resentment of many Georgians who still don’t accept the new
flag. They still fly the old one from their houses and on their
the Mississippi flag with its Confederate symbol was put to a test
of popular will, the existing flag won hands down. It is, after
all, rather difficult for the NAACP to hold an entire state’s population
hostage. I suspect that had the matter of whether or not to move
the Confederate flag back in 2000 been put to a vote in South Carolina,
the flag would still be on the Dome. But such a vote will never
take place in South Carolina. The General Assembly has seen to that.
Because of this, there can be no doubt that the square Confederate
flag behind the Confederate Soldier Monument is vulnerable. NAACP
agitators have learned that if they apply enough pressure over a
long enough period of time, sooner or later our fearless leaders
will cave in. Time will tell whether every reminder of 1860-65 in
the state has been tucked "out of sight, out of mind."
my recent review
of Bedford: A World Vision by Ellen Williams I mistakenly
attributed a quote declaring Christians to be cultists to former
Attorney General Janet Reno. The claim that Reno made this statement
on a 60 Minutes interview back in 1994 has been periodically circulated
by email since the mid 1990s. I repeated the claim without checking
its validity. However, as it turns out, there was no 60 Minutes
interview and hence no statement; the claim is an urban legend.
I apologize to my readers for the error.
Yates [send him mail]
has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is the author of Civil
Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (ICS Press,
1994). He is a professional writer at work on a number of projects
including a work of political philosophy, The Paradox of Liberty.
He has set up a small freelance writing business, Millennium
3 Communications. Currently living in Columbia, South Carolina,
he will join the Mises Institute in March as a Rowley Fellow.
© 2002 LewRockwell.com
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