I need to say this, up front: the Confederate Flag is evil. People who fly that flag are at the very best deluded and ignorant; in most cases, they’re just outright racist assholes, and this has every bit as much to do with what it’s come to mean since the Civil Rights Movement took off as it does the fact that it was the battle flag for a country that was founded literally to preserve the right to own black people.
But the speed at which it’s become toxic bothers me. Here’s the thing: the only thing that changed was one (1) asshole went into a church and blew away nine black people. The effect of the flag on modern society, what it means, whether it’s racist, or a symbol of heritage… all of this has been debated in the past, and frankly, the right side won. The problem is that people didn’t have the courage to go against what was, in most parts of even the South, a noisy minority. In short, the people who could have removed the Confederate Flag from state houses years ago were racists at best, cowards at worst.
But now, South Carolina’s taking it down from its capitol, and other states that have that setup are considering likewise. Many businesses are refusing to carry merchandise bearing it, despite the fact that it was A-OK at this time last week. Everyone’s running from it, and in the process, they’re demonstrating the same level of chickenshit cowardice that kept it flying in the first place.
I fucking hate fads. The desecration of a flag that should have been summarily desecrated decades ago has become a fad, much the same as listening to (and later disliking) certain popular music artists, or a hairstyle. This obviously right decision has literally nothing to do with right and wrong. It’s a business decision, pure and simple, and it’s shameful that the only thing that can get people to move is the fact that the wanton murder of nine innocent churchgoing black people tends to be bad for the bottom line.
Nikki Haley is not a brave woman for calling for the Confederate Flag to be removed from Columbia. She is a political coward who picks easy targets to bully, yet is skilled at turning a negative into a positive. Her inaction on this made her state look like a joke for years, and fostered a hostile environment for minorities. Evil thrives when the good do nothing, after all. The same goes for WalMart, Amazon and other companies who will no longer sell the merchandise of a nation of traitors. I don’t think they should get a pass because they made a bean counter’s decision off of the blood of nine innocents.
The free market’s impersonal nature is seen as a feature of its supporters, and not a bug. As a supporter of free markets, I agree. But nothing is ever perfect. The actions by these corporations, on an issue that was largely decided long ago, is a perfect example.