Monday, July 23, 2007

Spurrier and the flag

When University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier damned the Confederate flag in front of a liberal group a few months back, he received the accolades of the media elite even as he alienated countless longsuffering Gamecock fans. Spurrier, our highest paid state employee (with a reported annual salary of $1,300,000), refuses even to answer mail from those who questioned his outburst.

After much wrangling, the flag was lowered from the dome of the South Carolina capitol in 2000, and placed by the Confederate soldier monument on the State House grounds. Compromisers said that the banner should be displayed in a historical context, not in a position of “sovereignty.” Did doing so satisfy the bigots of the NAACP and their allies? You know the answer to that. Compromising with them is like trying to make peace with Hitler. The Sensitivity Police are never satisfied. Continued demands for boycott by the NAACP—and the cowardice of the NCAA in taking these hate-mongers seriously—should have made the coach angry. Instead, Spurrier lashed out at South Carolina’s Confederate heritage.

That heritage is intertwined with USC’s. When war came, the University (then South Carolina College) closed its doors as the entire student body went into Confederate service. Twenty former students rose to the rank of general officer in the Southern army, and buildings on the campus became a hospital. The War for Southern Independence is the defining event in our history as a people. Seventy-one thousand from the Palmetto State alone took up arms in defense of their liberty and their homes, and fourteen thousand died. In remembrance, is it too much to ask that a single flag fly on the State House grounds?

South Carolina League of the South

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