A View From Charleston

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TPM Reader CS gives us a view from Charleston and why he thinks the damn broke on the preservation of Confederate symbols. I’m particularly interested in the second catalyst he notes …

As a Charleston resident, I’ve noticed that there seem to be two main catalysts driving the removal of the flag—at least here in South Carolina.

First and foremost, a member of the South Carolina Senate was murdered. Not just any member, but a very highly respected and very well liked member. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Republican Senators who have come forward to release very personal statements about Sen. Pinckney’s death, especially among the Lowcountry delegation. The statements made about him strike me as more than just the generic nice things one is supposed to say.

Secondly, I credit social media. Within a few days, nearly everyone began to associate the Confederate flag with the images of Dylann Roof either waving it or posing with it on his car’s license plate. It created enough pressure to make Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham both change their minds and call for the flag to come down. I also think that the SC Republicans are savvy enough to not want to be responsible for having every single GOP candidate forced to go on record about their respective positions on the flag. They know that’s very much a no-win situation for the party.

(Slight digression – Tim Scott was initially going to wait until after the funerals to release his statement. That makes me think he was originally going to support keeping it where it is. Incidentally, his nickname by many African-Americans in this state is “Uncle Tim.”)

But perhaps the most ironic and gratifying takeaway from this tragic situation is that Dylan Roof is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the fall of the Confederate Flag.

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