I stumbled across an article in the Chicago Tribune the other day, which, I thought, simply underscores the northern folk’s misunderstanding of southern folk, especially… my home state of South Carolina. The article was written by Jeffrey L. Williams, a Tribune deputy bureau chief in DuPage County.
There is an over-riding idea in the northern states that South Carolina should forsake its southern heritage in favor of, well… money, ie: tourist dollars, dollars from athletic events, and such. This simply amplifies the total separation from the northern idea of the south and the state of South Carolina, in particular.
Look, I am a native South Carolinian, or sandlapper, as we affectionately call ourselves. I was born there, and I was raised there, and everything I do, and everything I have done in my life… up to now… has it’s roots in South Carolina. I’m a resident of North Carolina, but my heart will always be in my home of South Carolina.
South Carolina is a small state, which thinks it is at least as large as Texas, maybe even Alaska! It is a state of mind. Sandlappers are a proud people, both black and white… and Native American. The state is absolutely beautiful. The rolling hills of its piedmont are awesome and the northwestern mountains are breathtaking in beauty. The South Carolina coast is an absolute jewel. White sands and blue water sparkles all year ‘round. I guess living among such beauty has an effect on Sandlappers. You cannot live in Paradise and not be affected by it. You can’t live in Paradise and not defend it just the way it is. The last thing you want is for somebody, anybody, to come into your paradise and attempt to change it by force, or coercion, or any other way. It’s YOUR paradise and you don’t want it changed, period!
My folks sailed into the harbor of a little South Carolina coastal city, by the name of Charles Town, in 1789. My family is still there.
The people of South Carolina are nothing if they aren’t “spunky”. They’ll stick their collective fingers into the eye of the biggest giant around. They will defy any entity, which forces them into any sort of submissive state. Take Great Britain and the United States of America, for instance. Somewhere Cornwallis is still cussing South Carolina. Sandlappers led the way when they broke away from a repressive US government in 1861. So… they won one and lost one. Both were honorable efforts, on the part of South Carolina, and that is what matters! In fact in matters a LOT!
The battle over the Confederate Battle Flag is a battle only in the minds of folks who don’t live in South Carolina. The decision that the flag will never leave public view has been made by the people of South Carolina and they simply don’t care what you, or I, or anyone else, thinks about it. What others may want for the Confederate Battle Flag is of no concern, whatsoever, to the folks of South Carolina.
As I said, no matter what you may think, the CBF (Confederate Battle Flag) is a celebration of South Carolina’s Heritage. No people, anywhere, adore and esteem their ancestors more than do the people of my home state. The quickest way I know of to get a sharp rap across one’s nose is to make a disparaging remark about a Sandlappers Confederate ancestors.
So, when “outsiders” (that’s anyone not a citizen of South Carolina) take it upon themselves to rail against SC history, of which that flag is a part, and go even farther and dictate how South Carolina should behave… then it is sure to backfire and bring a great deal of dismay upon the “outsider”.
In the Iodine State, when you try to equate money with heritage, it can’t be done. Heritage, in South Carolina, is more valuable than money. One’s heritage is one’s identity.
It makes no difference whether you believe us when we say the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of our heritage, a heritage of which we are proud. We simply don’t care if you disagree! Far from hurting South Carolina’s economy the NAACP Boycott has boosted tourism dollars by some 3 billion dollars since they announced the boycotts beginning. The NCAA boycott is just a minor annoyance. Nobody, much, is concerned about it… save for the colleges and universities themselves… and the diehard fans. But, when questioned the fans will tell you they would rather contend with the NCAA boycott than take their ancestor’s flag down.
When the battle flag was placed atop the capitol dome, about 100 years after the War of Northern Aggression and Sherman’s burning of Columbia, it was placed there as a visible warning to tyrannical government. It was saying: “Hey! Remember us? We’re still here and we’re still opposed to any move by the government to take, or reduce, our freedom.” The CBF flies every day as a warning to tyrants everywhere, even… in Washington, DC.
When the South Carolina legislature voted to remove the CBF from the Capitol Dome, and set it permanently at the most visible point in the entire city, the Confederate Monument, they feared the NAACP would renege on the deal. So, in the legislation they included the provision that the Confederate Battle Flag could NEVER be moved, by any vote of the State Legislature… except a 2/3rds vote of both houses. That’s not going to happen… at least for the next 100 years, or so.
The South is known for its hospitality. And South Carolina is certainly a past master at the practice of Southern Hospitality. But keep one thing in mind… If the visitor abuses the hospitality of my home state, they will be invited to leave and never return! And that is as it should be!
So, to wind this up, the NAACP and the NCAA might just as well move on to greener pastures, for they are only spinning their wheels, and getting zero traction, in the red clay and sandy loam of my home, South Carolina!