Flying the Confederate flag is different

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After a crazed racist who wrapped himself in the Confederate flag massacred nine blacks at a South Carolina church, those defiant banners are being removed across the South. Great. They should come down, because flying the rebel flag became a symbol of white supremacy.

However, the flag cleanup raises another question: What about hundreds of Confederate statues and monuments? What about the statue of rebel commander Stonewall Jackson at West Virginia’s Capitol? What about the marker to Confederate leader George S. Patton and his men at Charleston’s Ruffner Park?

These emblems, we think, generally mark history, and shouldn’t be removed. History happened. It’s a factual reality. Nobody can go back and change it. Parts of West Virginia had intense Confederate sympathy, and that fact can’t be erased. Let it stand.

Flying a flag is a declaration of current belief. When white southern leaders began displaying the Confederate battle flag in 1961, they did it to defy federal orders to integrate races. Racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi outfits flaunt the banner as a public gesture.

Racism has faded greatly in America. Acceptance of all sorts of people has become a mainstream attitude. Only a few fringe bigots still clamor against blacks.

Those bigots need to adapt to reality. U.S. demographics are changing relentlessly…

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