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Nikki Haley Is Very Wrong About The Confederate Flag

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 12: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Former UN Ambassador ( R) Nikki Haley visits "Fox & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley continues to be wrong on many things. Today it was her statement that Dylann Roof, the shooter who murdered nine black people when he attacked a Charleston church in 2015 “hijacked” the confederate flag for a racist agenda.

Because apparently the flag of a failed rebellion of states that wanted to continue to own other human beings as slaves wasn’t racist before.

On her appearance on the Glenn Beck Podcast (which should be our first clue that nothing good is going to come out of this) Haley claimed that the stars and bars were really not so bad before this one bad guy ruined it. “People saw it as service and sacrifice and heritage,” she told Beck, “but once he did that, there was no way to overcome it.”

This is not only stupid – because the confederate flag has always been used by racists to signify racist things – but because it’s in contrast to things she herself said when she was governor of South Carolina and removed the flag from public spaces following the Charleston attack. In 2015 she said: “I think the more important part is it should have never been there.”

She went on in that 2015 interview to note that “there is a place for that flag,” and apparently she thinks that place is in the homes and hearts of good, true Southerners who see it as a symbol of their heritage.

To those folks, we simply say: find another symbol. Not only has the confederate flag been tainted by centuries of racist associations, it never was a symbol that could be separated from its racist roots. It was the flag of a group that believed in enslaving black people and who fought a war that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in an attempt to preserve their slave-holding way of life and keep their slaves in chains.

The service and sacrifice of the people who followed that flag was in service against the United States that sacrificed more lives than any other war in US history, and all because, and I cannot stress this enough, the confederacy wanted to own people.

The Civil War is a deep, complicated topic, but we cannot erase the most fundamental aspect of it: that it happened because half of the country was dependent on slave-holding and its attendant racism, and even after they continued to cling to that along with the flag of the losing side. That flag has no place in any public space and it wasn’t a mass shooter who made it a symbol of racism: it was people like Nikki Haley who refuse to acknowledge what it really means and allow it to remain.

(via: The Hill, Image: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.