Don’t surrender heritage

I was proud to see our state coming together, across racial and economic differences, to give loving support to the victims, their families and the community of Charleston in the wake of the tragic shootings. This was in stark contrast to Baltimore or Missouri, where hand-in-hand we condemned the killer and his message. Instead of street violence erupting true brotherhood was starting to shine, a reflection of our state’s deep Christian heritage.

This would have been a unifying event if it was not for some politicians, outsiders and the national media, who chose not to further this coming together, but instead pulled out the Confederate Battle Flag and used it to drive a wedge of division through the state.

The media labeled the flag as a racist symbol, and those who fly it or support it in any way as white supremacists. Often this racist label was pinned to the entire state, as the media had a take no prisoners approach. As polls show, some see the flag as racist but the majority do not, instead seeing it as a symbol of southern heritage or representing rebellion against a growing and more intrusive federal government.

My representative, Neal Collins, went along with it all. He made it clear the only thing he would support was taking down the flag, its flagpole and the fence around it. He even voted against replacing the Battle Flag with the current South Carolina state flag, leaving the impression he finds it offensive as well. There were other attempts at a reasonable compromise including letting the people decide by referendum, all were rejected.

The media came in, smeared the state and all of us in it, wanted the flag down “now” and too many of our state representatives just went along with their agenda.

Seeing little resistance, the media is now branding anything to do with southern tradition as racist, and demanding all monuments tied to the Confederacy be taken down too. When are our state leaders going to stand up against this? They, by their actions, are surrendering our culture and heritage to those that would define that culture and heritage by the actions of a racist mass murderer. This has gone too far.

Rick Tate


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