When South Carolina’s Gov. Nikki Haley stood at the state capitol on July 10, she humbly accepted thanks from many of the thousands who were present in Columbia that morning to witness removal of the Confederate flag.
What many of those gracious constituents had forgotten, though, was that Haley had defended the flag’s presence as late as October 2014. But what far too many of them had never known is much, much worse.
In a videotaped private interview five years earlier, not only did Haley support the Confederate flag’s presence, but she even compared its “heritage” to Black History Month.
Early in the 2010 election season when Haley was still seeking Republican Party nomination in the governor’s race, a group calling itself “Palmetto Patriots” asked her to participate in a videotaped interview. The subject of the meeting wasn’t her stances on political issues like employment or taxes. This group was only interested in one thing:
We’d like to know what your position is on the Confederate flag.
Haley responded with a recap on the rebel flag’s history in the state capitol, where it flew beginning in 1961. When she mentions “negotiations,” Haley’s referring to the last time state legislature formally argued on the subject. In 2000, and after much theatrical bickering, the flag was moved from atop the capitol dome to a memorial directly in front of the building.
They could rest easy, Haley reassured the Palmetto Patriots.
For those groups who come in and say they have issues with the Confederate flag, I will work to talk with them about it. I will work to talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist.
So what if “heritage” involves slavery and persecution and inhumanity, right? It’s not racist! And her supportive statement led to a new question from Palmetto Patriots, which you can hear at the 1:38 mark in the three-minute video below.
Would you support a Confederate History Month in the state?
And her response?
Um, I mean, yes. It’s part of the traditional – you know, it’s part of tradition. And so when you look at it, you have – the same as you have Black History Month(.)
That’s right. Not only did Haley accept positive promotion of plantations and slavery and secession. She even compared that to Black History Month, which is partly based on remembering the inhumanity those same treasonous slave-owners forced upon hundreds of thousands in that era. She continued:
As long it’s done where, it’s done in a positive way and not in a negative way, and it doesn’t go to harm anyone, and it goes back to where it focuses on the traditions of, um, the people that are wanting to celebrate it, then I think it’s fine.
Witness it yourself:
Of course, those “traditions of the people that are wanting to celebrate it” include, oh … hoods and sheets, burning crosses – you know, simple, basic, harmless stuff like that. “They do things out of tradition and out of beliefs that what they believe is right,” Haley says. So that makes it okay!
Oh, and the Civil War? Slavery had nothing to do with that, you know. According to Haley, the south was “fighting for tradition.”
It was tradition versus change, is the way I see it.
Thankfully, the change has finally come, with complete removal of the flag from state house grounds on Friday, July 10. Unfortunately, it took the inhumane slaying of nine people in Charleston to break that tradition and achieve that change.
Featured image by ABC News