Strom Thurmond’s son urges colleagues to vote against flying the racist flag over South Carolina’s Capitol
It’s always good to see a person break the chain of racism, sexism, and anger that generally passes on from generation to generation. On Tuesday, Paul Thurmond did just that when he made a stirring call to other state senate members to have the Confederate flag removed from the state house permanently, telling them, “the time is right.”
If the Devil gave day passes, Strom Thurmond would use one to roll in his grave right about now. Strom was a fervent segregationist and Dixiecrat, and later Republican after the parties switched names. Strom is well known for holding the record for the longest filibuster in history when he tried to stop the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Act — he was so passionate about continuing segregation for black Americans that he spoke non-stop for 24 hours and 18 minutes. Strom stayed in office as a U.S. Senator (R-S.C.) until he was 100 years old and he was succeeded by Lindsey Graham (R).
It’s important to note that the Confederate flag wasn’t flown anywhere during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, and only made its reappearance once desegregation was being forced upon Southern racists by the federal government. It reappeared over South Carolina’s statehouse (as well as other southern states’ capitol buildings) in 1962 when segregation was coming to its end — and flying the pro-slavery flag was viewed as the states way of making a defiant statement against African Americans obtaining rights.
Sen. Paul Thurmond, who was a friend to the fallen state senator, Sen. Clementa Pinckney, killed in the mass shooting last week eulogized his friend calling him “powerful and beautiful,” and said:
I cannot comprehend the hate that was visited upon the Holy City, but I can respond with love and unity and kindness and maybe show others that their motivation for future attacks of hate will not be tolerated, will not result in a race war, will not divide us, but rather will strengthen our resolve to come together as one nation, one state, and one community under God.
It makes your heart flutter with joy to see someone untouched by their father’s racist past to come out fighting to promote love and unity for all, and for him to truly understand what that flag stands for unlike other racists in denial.
Continuing, Sen. Paul said:
Now we have these hate groups and the symbols that they use to remind African Americans that things haven’t changed and that they are still viewed as less than equal human beings. Well, let me tell you: Things have changed. Overwhelmingly, people are not being raised to hate or to believe that they are superior to others based on the color of their skin. My generation was raised to respect all people, of every race, religion, and gender.
And adding a final kick in the teeth to his colleagues in opposition, he finished with this:
I have prayed that I will leave this place better for the future generations. I am proud to take a stand and no longer be silent. I am proud to be on the right side of history regarding the removal of this symbol of racism and bigotry from the statehouse. But let it not satisfy us to stop there. Justice by halves is not justice. We must take down the confederate flag, and we must take it down now.
After so many Americans were sickened to watch the Confederate battle flag flying high over the state capitol building after the nine murders of African Americans while the American and South Carolina state flags were lowered to half mast — that flag which represents treason, racism, slavery, division and hate — just might be coming down for good and put into a museum where it belongs like other embarrassing pieces of history, to be ogled over by second graders on field trips who can’t fathom the kind of world it was once a part of.
This speech gave me goosebumps:
Featured image via YouTube screen capture