America’s most diverse statewide leadership is in South Carolina. The Senators are two men, one black and one white. The governor is a woman of Asian Indian descent. Incidentally, all of them are Republicans. Yet some try to paint the state as some Bastian of racism because of its history and the fact that it still takes pride in valor of its Southern past. It was the fire eater state that spread flames of disunity which almost split the nation forever and plunged us into civil war. Racism has been a stain upon the state. Roof tried to tap into that to start a new race war. Instead, everyone sees the new South Carolina. It is imperfect, but we see thousands of people of all ethnicities standing together in love and unity.
Governor Nikki Haley kicked off the movement when she gathered leaders all across the state to join her in this statement. Leave it to a woman to show the strength that men haven’t been able to muster.
“The murderer, now locked up in Charleston, said he hoped his actions would start a race war. We have an opportunity to show him not only was he wrong, but just the opposite is happening,” she said. “My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are now in heaven.”
I hope the state legislature agrees. Regardless of whether or not the flag takes up different residence, we can all see that the state is different in more important ways. Look at how the state reacted to vicious shooting by the police officer of a fleeing unarmed man. It was unequivocal and an example to other jurisdictions. It may have a way to go, but has any state come so far so quickly? Now that this little symbolic distraction is headed for resolution, maybe we can deal with real problems that affect people’s lives. I admit symbols matter, but we often use them to avoid real issues. Governor Haley has enabled us to have a real discussion and look at the reality on the ground.