The recent move to suppress the open display of the American swastika, better known as the Confederate Flag, has gotten to former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen. First he notes that the paper he writes for, the Washington Post, is named after a slaveowner. Then he emulates the Charleston, South Carolina shooter by looking up statistics on black-on-black and black-on-white crime to justify his ideological blinders. And then he attacks us city folk for some kind of reverse bigotry and intolerance.

Now come all these self-righteous liberals from cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, doing what the Charleston shooter failed to do — sowing division and discord where none exist.

Let’s be clear: The recent criticism of the Confederate flag is really not about a flag — it is about the people of the South. It is driven by the notion that most Southerners are a bunch of racists who agree with the Charleston shooter’s murderous actions. As we saw after the shooting, nothing could be further from the truth.

So, the first thing is that if you don’t want to be perceived as agreeing with shooter’s murderous actions, you shouldn’t follow his example by reacting to the death of a bunch of black people at the hands of a white man by citing crime statistics about black people who die at the hands of black people.

Now, Thiessen might argue that he’s only citing these statistics to show that “there is no race war in America.” Fine, I guess everyone should just shut up then and go home, including the legislature in South Carolina.

Really, I don’t know anyone who is arguing that there is anything like a race war going on, although if you really dig deep down into what people are saying about the Confederate flag (on both sides) it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t symbolize a fight that blacks have been losing ever since the Emancipation Proclamation morphed into Jim Crow and then the modern Southern Strategy. Maybe electing a black president and finally getting a consensus around the idea that the Confederate flag is a treasonous bit of pro-segregation shit is an indication that the tide has turned a little bit. I think this is making Mark Thiessen uncomfortable.

Thiessen is clearly alarmed by these changes, but he professes to believe that they won’t change anything:

Moreover, none of this political correctness is helping African Americans at all. Getting rid of the Confederate flag or banning “The Dukes of Hazzard” won’t save a single black life. It won’t do a thing to help the nearly one quarter of young African American men who are unemployed — or to lift up black kids trapped in failing schools. Instead of sowing division with historical purges, let’s celebrate how far our nation has come — and focus our energies on actually helping those who have been left behind.

It might be hard to envision the causal mechanism whereby kicking the racists’ asses in the Columbia statehouse and getting corporate America to define the Confederacy as obscene will save a single black life or get anyone a job or a good education. But it might be easier for Thiessen to see how the cause and effect works here if he could spend 400 years on the losing end of the culture war. Maybe he could see what it’s like to have an entire (successful) political strategy launched on the predicate that his people are lawless violent criminals who breed like animals and must be incarcerated in huge numbers. Maybe if every time Thiessen tried to get some money for his local schools he had to watch politicians bitch about giving taxpayer dollars to shiftless layabouts then he’d begin to understand how being a whipping boy for Republican power and Southern heritage is a losing proposition that costs his people jobs, opportunities, and lives.

It may not be easy to calculate just how allowing the Confederate flag to fly with pride winds up killing black people and denying them equal opportunity or economic justice, but you can believe that this was part of the equation going through the Charleston shooter’s mind. He convinced himself that black people were taking over, which is basically what Thiessen is concluding as well.

But, here’s the good news.

Since there is no race war in America, there is nothing for Thiessen to really worry about. Since the caricatures these Southern Heritage folks made of blacks were lies, they will not be treated like white Rhodesians.

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