Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

The Confederate Flag

June 22, 2015

Here is another petition from Moveon.org that I won’t be signing.

Dear MoveOn member,

I’m Karen Hunter, a fellow MoveOn member, and I started a petition to the South Carolina Legislature and Governor Nikki Haley.

On the heels of the brutal killing of nine black people in a South Carolina church, it’s time to put a symbol of rebellion and racism behind us and move toward healing and a better United States of America.1 Can you join me in telling South Carolina lawmakers:

Symbols of hate and division have no place in our government. It’s time to stand up for what’s right and take down the Confederate flag!

Sign Karen’s petition

The Confederate flag is not a symbol of southern pride but rather a symbol of rebellion and racism.

Tell South Carolina lawmakers: Symbols of hate have no place in our government.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

–Karen

I have never been a fan of the Confederate States being a Yankee and a Unionist and I have no great attachment to the Confederate flag, seeing it as a symbol of treason and slavery. Nevertheless, I am not going to sign a petition telling the state of South Carolina that they cannot fly the Confederate flag in any official capacity. I do not live in South Carolina so it seems to me that it would be a little presumptuous to tell the people of South Carolina what they can’t do. I resent it when outsiders tell us what to do here in Indiana, and I imagine that the South Caroliners feel the same way. Besides, the killing at the South Carolina church was committed by a twisted individual, not a piece of cloth. This petition is a despicable attempt to make use of a terrible crime to promote a political agenda.

By the way, the flag that is most people think of as the Confederate flag:

Confederate Battle Flag

 

wasn’t actually the national flag of the Confederate States of America. That is the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee’s command. The battle flag eventually became the most popular symbol for the Confederacy, especially after the Civil War, but it was never the official national flag of the CSA. There were, in fact, three successive designs for the Confederate national flag approved by the Confederate Congress. It seems as if they had some difficulty creating a flag that pleased everyone.

The first design, the Stars and Bars, closely resembled the Stars and Stripes of the United States.

Stars and Bars

Many Southerners still felt some attachment to the old flag and still felt themselves to be Americans, though deserving their own nation and so this first flag of the Confederacy was deliberately designed to resemble the familiar Stars and Stripes. The Stars and Bars was created by Nicola Marschall and was adopted on March 4, 1861. It originally had seven stars to represent the first seven states to leave the Union and join the Confederacy. As more states seceded, more stars were added until at last there were thirteen, representing the eleven Southern states that made up the CSA along with the border states Kentucky and Missouri, which had not seceded but did have representatives in the Confederate Congress.

The problem with the Stars and Bars was that it too closely resembled the Stars and Stripes. As the Civil War got under way, attitudes in the South hardened and more people wanted a flag that was clearly distinct from the North’s flag, which was coming to be associated with abolitionism. Also, the two flags were similar enough that they caused confusion on the battle field. One solution, proposed by General P. G. T. Beauregard, was to have two flags, one, the Stars and Bars to be used for official purposes, and one battle flag for use for military purposes. This idea was adopted and a rejected design for the national flag by William Porcher Miles was adopted. This was the familiar rebel flag. Miles had thought to adopt the South Carolina “Secession Flag”.

 

South_Carolina_Sovereignty-Secession_Flag.svg

 

Miles simply removed the crescent and palmetto design and then changed the cross shape to a “saltire” shape on the advice of a Jewish friend who believed that a symbol associated with Christianity might cause offense to Jews and even some iconoclastic Protestant sects.

The Stars and Bars continued to be used until it was replaced on May 1, 1863 by a new flag referred to as the “Stainless Banner”, designed by William T. Thompson.

us-csa2

This flag placed the design of the battle flag in the upper left quarter on a white field. The Confederate Congress did not specify the meaning of the symbolism of the white field, but Thompson stated that it symbolized the South’s struggle to maintain the “Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race”.

This flag also had some problems. It was feared that the predominate white color could be mistaken for a flag of truce or surrender if the battle design or southern cross were hidden. Therefore a third design, the “blood stained banner” was adopted by the Confederate Congress on March 4, 1865.

Third Flag

Lee surrendered a month later on April 9 and the Confederate States of America was defeated before many of these flags could be manufactured or the Confederate Congress could adopt yet another design.

Of all these flags, only the Battle Flag or the Southern Cross has managed to capture the imagination of the people of the South and has become the symbol of the South. The Rebel flag wasn’t seen much in the decades after the Civil War, except as part of the general “Lost Cause” nostalgia that came to be associated with the Old South. This started to changed around the middle of the twentieth century. During World War II, some units associated with the South adopted the Confederate flag as their emblem and a Confederate flag was raised during the Battle of Okinawa. The Confederate flag began to be more prominently used during the Civil Rights era when it became a symbol of resistance against desegregation. White supremacist groups have continued to use this flag as a symbol, but then so have many Southerners who are not particularly racist and want to express pride in their region.

So, should the state of South Carolina fly the Confederate battle flag at its State House? As I said, as I do not live in South Carolina, I really don’t have any right to tell South Carolina what flag they can fly. If they were to ask my advice, however, I would tell them that they should not. A flag ought to symbolize the whole community and any Confederate flag simply cannot do this. Any African-American, the descendant of slaves, could not help but dislike a flag that is the symbol of a nation created for the express purpose of ensuring his ancestors remain in bondage. I know that many people in the South see the Confederate flag as a symbol of their heritage, but perhaps this is one part of their heritage they should not celebrate. There is a New South, prosperous and diverse, that has been emerging in recent decades. Maybe it’s time to leave the Old South of slavery and segregation behind.

 

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The Election of 1832

January 26, 2015

There were essentially two issues on which the election of 1832 was decided. One was the fate of the Second Bank of the United States. The First Bank of the United States was chartered by Congress for a twenty year term in 1791 at the proposal of Alexander Hamilton, who believed that a national bank like the Bank of England was essential for the economic development of the new nation. Hamilton hoped that the Bank of the United States would improve America’s credit and foster economic growth, particularly in manufacturing. Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans loathed the idea of a national bank, believing it to be an unconstitutional expansion of the federal government. They were also suspicious of banks and the financial industry as being the creation of a moneyed elite who cheated the common people out of their hard earned money. The only honest money was that which was earned through the labor of your own hands (or that of your slaves). When the charter of the First Bank of the United States terminated in 1811, President Madison and the Democratic-Republican Congress declined to renew it.
As a result, President Madison found it extraordinarily difficult to pay for the War of 1812, which broke out the following year. The Democratic-Republicans became converted to Hamiltonian economics and in 1816 chartered the Second Bank of the United States with a twenty year term.

Andrew Jackson hated the Second Bank of the United States as much as Jefferson disliked the first, and for much the same reason. Jackson presented himself as a Westerner and a man of the people fighting against the moneyed interests back East. If re-elected, Jackson promised to veto any renewal of the Bank’s charter and in the meantime, he would work to reduce the Bank’s influence. This dislike and distrust of a moneyed elite would be a feature of populist politics in future elections.
The second great issue of the election of 1832 was Andrew Jackson himself. President Jackson had played a far more active role in governing than any of his predecessors who had generally deferred to Congress. Jackson believed that while a Congressman was elected by his district and a Senator by his state, the President was elected by the whole people and should act as a Tribune protecting the people against particular interests. His opponents didn’t see matters in quite that way and accused Jackson of plotting to make himself a king or a dictator.

The campaign for the presidency began in September 1831 with the first nominating convention in American history, held the Anti-Masonic Party, the first of many “third parties”in American politics which would be organized around a single issue, gain temporary popularity and then fade away. The Anti-Masonic Party was, obviously, against the Freemasons and other secret organizations out of the fear that their membership were involved in a secret cabal to overturn republican government and substitute the rule of an elite. This seems rather paranoid, but it was something that many people were worried about. In any case, the Anti-Masonic Party held their convention in Baltimore Maryland and nominated former Attorney General William Wirt for President and Amos Ellmaker for Vice-President.

Jackson’s opponents, the National Republicans, also met in Baltimore in December 1831. They nominated Kentucky Senator Henry Clay for President and Clay’s friend John Sergeant from Pennsylvania for Vice-President.

The Democratic-Republicans, or Democrats as they can now be called, met in Baltimore in May, 1832 and to no one’s surprise, nominated Andrew Jackson for a second term. Jackson’s Vice-President, John C. Calhoun was not selected as his running mate. Jackson and Calhoun did not see eye to eye on a number of issues, particularly on the issue of state’s rights. Calhoun believed that the states had the right to nullify federal laws that were not to their liking, especially the tariffs which were unpopular in his home state, South Caroline. Jackson was a strong nationalist and threatened to send the army into South Carolina if they resisted or nullified any federal tariff. Jackson selected New York Senator, Governor, and his Secretary of State, Martin van Buren.

It was a nasty campaign, like the one before it, fought over personalities and the Bank. It was actually Henry Clay who brought the Bank into the campaign by persuading Nicholas Biddle, the President of the Bank to apply for a renewal of its charter four years early, in 1832. Clay hoped that Jackson would veto the renewal, dividing the Democrats, some of whom were actually for the Bank and winning Pennsylvania, where the Bank was located in Philadelphia. Biddle applied for the renewal of the charter and President Jackson promptly vetoed it. Events didn’t work out quite as Clay hoped, however. Jackson’s veto thrilled his supporters and burnished his populist credentials and made the contest one between the people and the elite. It didn’t help that Biddle and the Bank spent thousands of dollars funding anti-Jackson newspapers, pamphlets and other political activities.

Clay and his supporters made good use of these funds, accusing Jackson of arbitrary rule and dictatorship in cartoons and speeches, but the Jacksonians proved to be far more organized with meetings, parades, and Old Hickory clubs exhorting the voters to support their champion. In the end, Jackson won reelection easily.
Jackson got 701,780 votes, giving him 54.7% of the popular votes. Clay and the National Republicans got 484,205 votes with 36.9% of the popular vote. The Anti-Masonic party managed to get 100,715 votes with 7.8% of the popular vote.

Jackson won sixteen states all over the country for a total of  219 electoral votes. Clay only won his home state, Kentucky, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island with 49 electoral votes. Wirt and the Anti-Masons won Vermont with its 7 votes. John Floyd, a supporter of Calhoun’s got South Carolina’s 11 votes. South Carolina was the last state to have its electors chosen by the state legislature rather than by popular vote. Maryland’s 10 electoral votes were divided with 3 votes for Jackson, 5 for Clay and two electors not voting.

The Election of 1832

The Election of 1832

 

With these results, President Jackson could claim a popular mandate for his policies and he began to withdraw government assets from the Second Bank of the United States. The new era of popular, Jacksonian, democracy had begun.

 

Dumb and Dumber

May 19, 2014

There are times when I start to feel optimistic about the future of the human race. I start to think that we will be wise and knowledgeable enough to solve all of our problems and expand out into the furthest reaches of the universe. Then, I read a story like this from Fox News.

A South Carolina man died Wednesday morning after police say he asked one of his friends to fire a gun into a bulletproof vest he was wearing, Fox Carolina reported.

The bullet reportedly missed the Kevlar vest and hit Blake Wardell, 26, in the chest. Friends performed CPR, but Wardell bled to death in the garage, the report said. The death was classified a homicide. The bulletproof vest was about 10 years old and the weapon was called a small-caliber gun, The State reported.

Taylor Ann Kelly, 18, was reportedly charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting and can face five years in prison.

“It wasn’t a fight. They were actually going to take a shot at the vest,” Don McCown, the Anderson County deputy coroner, told the paper. “They were going to shoot the victim with the vest on. And he was shot in the chest, just above the vest.”

Deputies said in the arrest warrant they believe that the victim asked Kelly to shoot him.

If I happened to be in possession of a Kevlar vest and I wanted to test it, I would hope that I might be to figure out a safer means of testing it, maybe by putting on a dummy I don’t know much about bulletproof vests, but a quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that they are not necessarily completely bullet proof against all calibers and at any range. It is actually possible to be harmed by gunfire even while wearing a vest if the bullet is massive enough, at close enough range, or has a large enough velocity. And there is always the possibility that the bullet will hit an unprotected part of the body, as happened in this unfortunate case.

I would also hope that if someone ever told me to shoot him to test a bullet proof vest, I would have enough sense to just say no. I don’t think that Miss Kelly deserves to go to prison, since she evidently had no intention of murdering Mr. Wardell, but this incident does show lack of judgement on her part. Perhaps probation will be sufficient.

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Freedom from Religion Strikes Again

June 7, 2013

If I were an atheist, I would be more than a little mortified by the antics of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It seems that they are determined to make their fellow atheists hated pariahs where ever they are by offending as many believers as possible. Read about their latest efforts to eradicate any public mention religion in Todd Stearns’ Townhall column.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation blasted what it called the “open defiance” of a valedictorian who delivered The Lord’s Prayer during a high school graduation ceremony last Saturday in South Carolina.

Roy Costner, a senior at Liberty High School in Pickens, created national attention when he ripped up his pre-approved graduation speech and instead led the crowd in a recitation of The Lord’s Prayer.

A video of the speech was posted on YouTube and has since gone viral. It shows the 18-year-old setting aside his speech.

“I think most of you will understand when I say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven,” he said as the crowd began to cheer.

He concluded his remarks by pointing to the sky and saying, “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

The school district had been in a battle over public prayers after the FFRF filed a complaint objecting to what they called an “unconstitutional prayer practice.”

They hold the school district responsible for Costner’s open act of defiance and what they called a string of problematic religious violations.

“The valedictorian who so insensitively inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience at a secular graduation ceremony, is a product of a school district which itself set an unconstitutional example by hosting school board prayer,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a prepared statement.

I’m happy with what I did,” Costner said. “I want this to glorify God. I want to use this as a witnessing tool and I hope others will stand up for God in our nation.”

He got the idea to deliver the prayer about two weeks ago when he learned that he had been selected as the top academic student in the graduating class. He was summoned to the principal’s office.

“She informed us that we could not have anything about religion or talk about God or Allah or whoever we choose to worship,” he said. “And they had to approve the speech prior to me going onto stage.”

The prayer controversy had gripped the small South Carolina community for quite some time – and many locals took issue with a group from Wisconsin causing problems.

The valedictorian inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience? What about the Freedom from Religion Foundation inserting themselves and their values into a town in South Carolina where they were not wanted? Judging from the fact that the audience cheered, I am not sure how many of them felt that the prayer was inflicted upon them. If there were any atheists in attendance, I think they would have preferred to let their minds wander for the minute or so it would have taken Costner to say the prayer, rather than make a fuss that would be completely unnecessary.

I think that the people who are running the FFRF need to read the constitution and especially the first amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

By prohibiting Costner from praying in public or talking about his religion in his speech, wasn’t the principal prohibiting the free exercise of his religion? By demanding and enforcing a state sponsored secularism, isn’t the FFRF insisting on establishing an official state religion, or at least an official state ideology? Who is being aggressive in forcing their beliefs and values on others? Who is being the bully here?

 

Upset in South Carolina

January 22, 2012

Well, this race is starting to get interesting. Just when we thought Mitt Romney would cruise his way to a coronation, Newt Gingrich manages to pull off a victory in South Carolina. Here are the results according to Google. It wasn’t a narrow victory for Gingrich but a rout for Romney as Gingrich took 40% of the vote to Romney’s 28%. Santorum was third with 17% and Ron Paul was fourth with 13%. There is going to be a lot of pressure on Santorum now to quit and endorse Gingrich. I don’t think he can go much farther and Gingrich’s best chance now is to be the only not-Romney candidate standing. Romney is still ahead in Florida but the primary there isn’t until the 31st so things could change.

At this point, I don’t really have a preference between the two men. I don’t care for Romney. He doesn’t seem to stand for anything. On the other hand, I have doubts about Gingrich’s ability to lead. He seems too volatile, too mercurial. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I actually think that Gingrich is the more electable of the two. He seems to be more of a fighter, and a fighter is what we will need to defeat Obama. I don’t doubt that he will be able to beat Obama in any debate.

Romney seems to have more relevant experience. He was the governor of Massachusetts. I generally prefer governors as presidents because of the executive experience. His career in business and as director of the 2002 Olympic Winter games suggest that he has an ability to turn troubled organizations around. This is surely a talent that the next president will badly need. On the other hand, Romney is a manager. We need a leader. That is, someone who can inspire the American people to do the things we need to turn the country around. Romney is not that man. Gingrich may be, if his ego doesn’t get in his way.

 

Perry’s Out

January 19, 2012

Rick Perry has dropped out of the Presidential race and has endorsed Newt Gingrich. From Fox News.

Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race Thursday and endorsed Newt Gingrich, a move that comes just two days before the South Carolina Republican primary.

The Texas governor, saying he will return to his state “with pride,” announced in South Carolina that “there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign.”

After surging to the front of the GOP field upon entering the race last summer, Perry struggled to sustain that support and endured disappointing finishes in the leadoff Iowa and New Hampshire contests. He said Thursday he entered the race with a “sense of calling,” but realizes “when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”

I’m surprised he has lasted this long. Meanwhile Gingrich has been having troubles of his own, namely his ex-wife Marrianne giving an interview on ABC news.

Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.

In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich.

In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife.

She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.

I guess the moral is that if you want to run for president, you shouldn’t ask your wife for an “open” marriage. Newt is supposed to be really smart, but I doubt many married men are foolish enough to suggest something like that to their wives.

Huntsman Out

January 16, 2012

Jon Huntsman has dropped out and endorsed Mitt Romney. To be honest, I’m surprised he has lasted this long. Tomorrow is the South Carolina primary. Romney is ahead in the polls and I expect he will win. He will certainly win in Florida and it looks increasingly like he will be the Republican nominee.

 


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