As South Carolina grudgingly takes a progressive step to shed their past of bigotry and racism by removing the Confederate flag from their state capitol, not all are pleased with the development. State Representative Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) said that the movement to remove the flag from the capitol reminded him of a “Stalinist purge”, as per a tweet by Spartanburg Council County reporter Chris Lavender.
That statement says in no uncertain terms that no matter how hard Governor Nikki Haley tries to whitewash over South Carolina’s deep history of prejudice and treason, the desperate attempts to cling to the old racial power structure and white social superiority remains alive and well in the South. If the barbaric murder of nine churchgoers by a self-proclaimed white supremacist isn’t enough to persuade some to back away from outlandish and inflammatory statements like the one made by Bright, then nothing will.
The choice of words used by Bright also are very curious. It speaks to the paranoia and defensiveness that Republican extremists feel as the rest of the nation progresses into the future as they struggle to maintain relevancy in a world that largely doesn’t condone those types of sentiments. The hyperbole of comparing the removal of a racist flag to a brutal purging and murder of ideological dissidents by a totalitarian dictatorship speaks to the success of FOX News and the right-wing propaganda machine’s campaign to stir up anti-government sentiment and paint the conservative radical movement as being specifically targeted and repressed.
While South Carolina has every right to respect and celebrate their history, they need to have a little shame and not be quite so proud of the hateful bigotry and treason that their forefathers fought to defend.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.