Any normal Independence Day celebration in South Carolina, particularly Pickens County, is without a doubt a patriotic event. Traditionally Southerners are a very patriotic sort, but events of late had caused some concern, most notably the heated debate over the Confederate Flag.
The media and nation watched as the Palmetto State headed into the weekend, sure there would be headlines of racial tension, protests, looting, and arrests. Instead they were met with peaceful celebrations and protests with no arrests, no headline grabbing unruliness, and no declarations of secession.
This state should hold its head up and be proud in the face of so many with agendas and no ties to this state.
There will never be a day when there is total agreement over the flag issue, but following a weekend of celebration lacking ugliness, South Carolina came a long way in just a few days time whether anyone knows it or not. We are not the people we have been characterized to be, and this particular weekend South Carolinians showed their true colors.
Yes, there were rallies in support of the Confederate Flag, even in Pickens County, but there was no violence, no trouble nor protesters. Merely Americans exercising their right to free speech peacefully.
This should bring some pride and honor back to being from South Carolina, no matter which side of the debate you happen to fall on. This should restore some of the pride locally even if nationally there was a collective sigh when there was no meltdown into violence and looting.
Being an American is a privilege and a blessing. The behavior throughout the weekend of Independence Day was the epitome of the people of South Carolina. To have an American celebration in the face of national ridicule speaks volumes.
South Carolina is more than capable of handling its own business. More importantly, the people of this great state have shown great restraint in the face of a heated issue. While you won’t see national coverage of it, this is the most important part of this particular Independence Day — which could have represented any number of types of independence for many.
Maybe the biggest show of independence was the fact South Carolinians showed that despite everything, we are independent of the rest of the nation in the sense we are capable of rising above so much of the reactionary, violent trends across the country.
Who knows? Maybe in the end this will bring us all closer together, make us stronger and give each and every one of us a new perspective on our fellow man.