Charleston can a rough town. They've got a dark history when it comes to race relations.
It's sad that it took the murder of nine people at the hands of a neo-Nazi to get the world to notice that. It's even sadder that people think taking a stupid flag down will change anything.
Yes, I get it. The Confederate flag isn't strictly about slavery. Buy like it or not, that flag is unavoidably tied to perceptions of dehumanization, oppression, and segregation.
Consider the svastika. Hitler didn't invent it. He appropriated it for his uses, but it will forever be tainted by his association. There's no reclaiming it. Even if I see it as a Jainist symbol for opportunity, there's no way my Jewish or Polish friends want to see it.
So…yes, it's time to consider taking it down from government offices. It's a symbol of a divisive and awful time in our history.
But to call the act positive political or social change is a lie.
Everybody's going to throw a fit and draw lines in the sand. Conservatives will harp that the flag is a symbol of history and heritage. They're correct, to some extent. But they're also being somewhat tone-deaf.
It doesn't matter. Liberals will wrap themselves in the garb of social reformers and get drunk on their own imagined virtue. There may even be singing. Anyone who disagrees with them will be labeled racists. It's that one little cheap and reprehensible ad hominem that will shut down any argument.
My biggest problem? All those pompous, self-satisfied hypocrites will never do anything about the real problems in places like Charleston. As soon as the flag comes down, they're going to find another issue to write Facebook posts and change.org petitions about. The issues of economic disparity and unequal opportunities will yesterday's news.
Meanwhile, the same wheel of poverty and discrimination will continue to grind the people who actually live there. But hey, we took a flag down, so we don't have to think about it anymore.