So the inevitable politicization of the tragedy in Charleston has come to pass. President Obama within the first 24 hours signaled that he wants more gun control, even though the gun control measures would have done nothing to stop the killings. But after Al Sharpton and the media’s failed attempt to make Charleston go down the road of Baltimore or Ferguson, they decided to attack another target. The Confederate flag and conservative GOP presidential candidates.
The Confederate flag has different meanings to different people, if you are black, you may see it as a symbol of racism and oppression, if you are a southern white; maybe you see it as a symbol of southern pride and heritage. But whatever the meaning actually is, not long after the killings in South Carolina, the media immediately began targeting the flag as a symbol of white supremacy that must be wiped out of the public arena. As in typical Republican fashion, the Republican Governor of South Carolina immediately folded, and announced that the Confederate battle flag that has flown in from of the capital building for decades must come down. For us here in the Hoosier state, the Confederate battle flag is a flag of a foreign nation and means very little to us whether the southerners like to fly it or not. But the campaign against the Confederate flag has inevitably turned into a battle against GOP Presidential candidates and the Tea Party.
So the Republicans and the Tea Party need to separate themselves from the Confederate flag? Does that make sense? No, a simple history lesson will tell you why. In the election of 1860, a new President and a new party occupied the white house. That president was Abraham Lincoln, and the party was the Republican Party. Here are the Election Results from 1860. In the Red you have Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party and in the blue you have the southern Democrat named John C. Breckinridge.
After Lincoln’s victory, Democrat anger in the south boiled over and the southern states seceded and declared war on the old union. The civil war raged on for years, nearing the end of the civil war was another election in 1864, in that election the northern Democrat George B. McClellan wanted to make peace with the southern racist Democrats in a manner that would allow them to keep their slaves and their new country. As you can see by the chart below, he lost in a landslide and the Union emerged victorious in the War against the southern Democrats and their Confederate battle flag.
For the next century, the Democrats continued dominate politics in the south where racism was still the norm. As can be seen by this page that contains the electoral history of presidential elections. They flew the Confederate flag and created hate groups like the KKK. Only in recent history in the post-racist south, did southerners find a home in the Republican Party. So in conclusion, when the south was Democrat was when slavery and segregation took place, after social progress was made, the south turned Republican. So when GOP candidates are asked about the Confederate flag by the press, their answer should be, “Why should we have to answer for the Democrat’s sin and the Democrat’s flag?”, and leave it at that.
– Larry Hartman