Dear Confederate Flag Supporters:
I know I don’t have to explain to you all what’s been happening and talked about in the wake of the horrific murders in Charleston. Like me, you also have expressed your horror and sadness and grief. You’ve also joined with me in sending love, support and prayers to the victims and their families.
Like me, I’m quite sure you were amazed at the outpouring of unity and grace we saw in the days following the murders. We marveled as thousands of Americans poured into Charleston to stand with Emanuel AME and the people of their city. What we saw was no less than a miracle on display â€“ walking examples of how far Americans have come together from our past; living, breathing proof that freak shows like the Charleston murderer were the exception in this country and not the rule.
Soon the conversation turned to the motivations for this murder (as if being a drugged-out, racist weren’t enough) and the Confederate flag itself was a focus for a lot of anger and resentment. Personally I think it’s ridiculous to believe an inanimate object can be solely responsible for mass murder. It’s not voodoo. Hate is born in the heart, not the flag factory. The Charleston murderer carried the flag as a symbol but it certainly didn’t put the gun in his hand and load it five times. That was all him. That was all evil.
However, people have been calling the Confederate flag an unfortunate symbol of a racist past and a war fought to preserve the legacy of slavery. When Governor Nikki Haley decided to take the concerns of South Carolina’s citizens into consideration and announce she would support removing the flag from the state capitol, too many people started going ballistic. Suddenly my social media feeds were clogged with angry posts about the flag not being based in racism and being a part of Southern heritage and being a symbol of a union and not slavery.
And I get all that. I do. I’ve learned a lot about the history of that flag and the South over the last week. More than I’ve learned in my whole life as an American. It’s been a real education. I understand that for many Southerners this flag is simply a symbol of the South. It bears no resemblance to the symbol the Charleston murderer held it up as. I understand that Southerners are proud and don’t want to be stripped of what they feel is one tiny representation of their culture just because one lunatic misrepresented that culture. I understand.
But this week I’ve been talking a lot about what it will take to really heal the racial wounds in this country. Obviously the election of our first black President wasn’t enough. His â€śhopeâ€ť and â€śchangeâ€ť were just election-time buzzwords and he clearly hasn’t used his bully-pulpit to soothe America’s racial tensions, even though he has extraordinary political and moral authority to do so as the most powerful man in the world. I’ve been talking a lot about what we as individuals can do to come together and bridge this gap. A word that has been coming up a lot in my vocabulary is â€śgrace.â€ť I won’t get into all the definitions of grace and how it can be applied but I was blessed to fill in at The Dana Show on The Blaze this past week where I spoke at length about grace and my own personal experiences with it. If you’re curious I encourage you to look up those clips.
One aspect of grace involves extending some understanding to the other party. It means saying, â€śI don’t understand where you’re coming from and I don’t really agree but I’m willing to treat you as a friend and not an enemy.â€ť
Black America sees the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism. I’ll admit that even as much as I’ve learned about its history to date I too still cringe a little when I see it. I have always viewed it as a sign of an ideology that fought to keep my people enslaved. I’ve known plenty of people who fly it who don’t have a racist bone in their body and I’ve met many people who fly it proudly as a symbol of their animosity towards minorities.
Right or wrong, the fact is most black people in America see this flag as a message that says: â€śYou’re not welcome.â€ť I understand that it makes you angry to read those words but we have to deal with the world the way it is, not the way we wish it would be.
In the interest of easing racial tension, extending grace and offering an olive branch, I think removing this contentious symbol from official grounds is a small act that could have a deep impact. It’s a visible, tangible sign that Americans are willing do things we don’t necessarily want to do in order to bring peace and it costs nothing. You can still hang your flags at home or at your store, but it just won’t be flown at the capitol.
As for making this a cue to remove statues and school names and the like, it’s up those on the â€śother sideâ€ť â€“ I guess that would be black people like me â€“ to remind our officials and other activists that this is not a sign to get carried away. We’re talking about a symbol, not an infrastructure. Slow your roll!
I think it’s the right thing for South Carolina to take down that flag from capitol grounds. I also think it’s their decision, and it’s one that still has to go through the legislative process. Representatives of the people of the great state of South Carolina will make the decision, not anyone else. This is still a Republic (for now), after all. It’s a sign of good faith, and we could all use a little of that these days.
Frankly, as an independent conservative, I wouldn’t want anything to do with a Democrat flag raised by the party of the KKK and slavery. I certainly won’t be shedding any tears and you won’t see me making the flag my avatar on Facebook. I’m not sure why so many Republicans aren’t just letting the Democrats just own this one, but whatever. All I know is that to me, it’s just another part of the history of Democrats in this country and that history is a huge reason I abandoned the party long ago.
Free speech isn’t being threatened here. South Carolinians should still be able to fly their flag if they so choose on the their own personal property. However, eliminating the flag in the state capacity serves a much bigger purpose than simply recognizing a historical perspective. It’s a gift in good faith, it’s a symbol of the courage it takes to be the first to step forward to extend a peace-offering…it’s grace.
Kira Davis is a writer, video blogger and homeschool mother of two. She has interviewed President Obama and appeared on Fox News, The BlazeTV and the Dr. Phil Show. Kira is a dog person but she owns a cat anyway. You can find her on Twitter @RealKiraDavis.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Flip through the gallery below to read more from Kira and our other EveryJoe columnists.
Dear Kim KardashianNo, your nude selfie is not "empowering."
Photo by Vanessa Carvalho/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images
Dear GOP CandidatesWhen Donald Trump skipped the recent GOP debate on FOX, the other candidates definitely missed his presence. They needed Trump on that stage.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Dear Tim CookRead Kira's open letter to Tim Cook and Apple about not giving in to the FBI's demands
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Dear Leftist MediaYour PC culture is literally killing us.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Dear DemocratsIn 2016, the Democrat party is officially the party of old white people. What happened?
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Dear TV ExecsThis open letter reveals what we really want (and don't want) to see on TV.
Photo by ridofranz / Getty Images
Dear Trump FanaticsThis open letter is not to Trump fans, but rather FANATICS! It's nearly impossible to talk to you rationally about the issues and candidates in this race so far.
Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images
Dear American Gun CultureThis open letter discusses American gun culture and the Second Amendment.
Photo by STILLFX / Getty Images
Dear Kanye WestThis open letter addresses Kanye's supposed presidential aspirations, and more.
Photo by Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images For MTV
Dear Mainstream Media SelloutsThis is an open letter to the media sellouts who are avoiding covering the Planned Parenthood scandal.
Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images