By design we are creatures that live and function in a global society that thrives off of prepackaged hyperbole and scripted sensationalism. Too often we are simultaneously caught up in the hype of cynicism while publically expressing how we feel about the private life of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West; the financial net worth of Jay Z and Beyoncé and the silliness of comparing Donald Trump's toupee to an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar.

It doesn't really matter if we're intermingling with our co-workers, "shooting the breeze" with our neighbors or if we're at home chatting in private with our "battalions" of online friends; at the end of the day we've become a nation that is totally mesmerized and zombified by entertainment and political News that is undeniably part informative, part divisive, part petty and almost totally irrelevant to our overall advancement as humans on planet Earth.

However on Friday, July 10, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina at approximately 10:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, something really special occurred that had absolutely nothing to do with social pettiness and political irrelevancy and everything to do with a U.S. [Dixie] state finally divorcing itself from glorified symbols of hate and treason while miraculously discovering divine grace in the form of uncommon forgiveness.

On that glorious and momentous day, the 10th of July, 2015, the Northern Virginia Confederate Battle flag that defiantly flew on the grounds of South Carolina's State Capital for over 54 years, was lowered and officially retired to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Civil War Museum.

With South Carolina's Republican Governor Nikki Haley's signing into law on July 9, 2015, a bi-partisan legislative bill that in essence retired the Northern Virginian Confederate Battle Flag from flying prominently on the grounds of the State Capital, the "evil spirit of Jim Crow" was finally exorcised and driven away from public sight at 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia, South Carolina.

So what happened? ....after decades of South Carolinian governors and lawmakers willfully ignoring the pleas of countless of thousands of their citizens to take down a flag that millions of Americans commonly view as being a hateful symbol of White supremacy and treason, from the State Capital grounds, what in the name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis caused the final "ripple in the pond" that forever softened politically-hardened-hearts and enlightened politically-stubborn-minds?

In two words it was "Love" and "Forgiveness". It was the unconditional love that was showered upon a stranger named Dylan Storm Roof by a group of unsuspecting African-American friends congregating at a Bible study inside their beloved Emanuel AME Church located in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17, 2015 that shook conservative South Carolina lawmakers to their bone.

Approximately an hour after being immersed in the congregation's love and prayers Dylann Storm Roof stood up amongst the very same people who had embraced him as a brother in Christ and callously shot nine of them to death.

AND incredibly, it was the forgiveness bestowed upon this murderous racist by members of the grieving families that ultimately inspired and motivated South Carolina's lawmakers to actually stop... look honestly into the mirror and reflect upon with an open heart, the biblical meaning of community service, uncommon forgiveness and divine love.

However, what's incredibly sad about South Carolina's lawmaker's "divine epiphany" is that it took the murder of 9 beautiful human beings to bring about meaningful change in their state.

So...when people who are caught up in a frenzy of "American Exceptionalism" begin blurting out that the cost of "freedom" is not free, while trying to rationalize America's involvement in yet another war,....those of us who will forever remember the slaughtered "Charleston 9", should quickly respond with, "You damn right it isn't free"!

On a softer note, on Friday morning as the Honor Guard from the South Carolina Highway Patrol patiently waited for the Confederate flag to be lowered, sounds of pure joy could be heard resonating throughout the crowd.... it was almost as if the clouds in the sky parted and the collective voices of angels of every race and creed could be heard singing from heaven; it was definitely a special moment in South Carolina history.

In closing......

Lest we forget that it was Governor Haley's economic foresight and moral / political courage that propelled stubborn state lawmakers AND a racially scarred nation to move forward from the entanglement of a myriad of myths and lies created by a minority of people who seek to promulgate racial superiority, promulgate the belief that "being a 21st century confederate rebel is cool" while subversively promoting the idea that one day Dixie will once again rise up from its "northern aggressors" and secede from OUR [imperfect yet beloved], amalgamated union.

As millions of Americans rejoice in the political courage exhibited by most of South Carolina's legislative members and its governor, we will have to wait and see if South Carolina's new found energy and "spiritual rebirth" can somehow motivate its conservative lawmakers to implement a plan that will dramatically increase wages for all South Carolinian workers (South Carolina's poverty rate currently ranks 9th highest nationally) and dramatically improve the state's dismal last place national ranking (50th) in public education, grades Kindergarten through 12.

Taking down a flag that symbolizes countless prejudices and countless inequities loses much of its importance unless progressive steps are taken to move South Carolina onward and upward into the 21st Century as a model state that exemplifies the best in career opportunities and the best in public education.

Setting aside South Carolina's many difficult challenges, it's too important not to reiterate that the 9th and 10th of July, 2015 were indeed great days in South Carolinian history AND in American history, prompting some to speculate with a bittersweet smile that for tens of thousands of South Carolinians of African-American descent, that July 10, 2015 may very well be their newfound and honored "Independence Day".


confederate flag comes down south carolina





Gregory Boyce

Gregory Boyce

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