September 20th, 2021


Letting no tragedy go to waste

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published June 23, 2015

 Letting no tragedy go to waste

The funeral processions to the graveyards in Charleston will be crowded unless the families can keep out the interlopers, exploiters and other cheap opportunists. The easy riders have hitched up their hobbyhorses for the big parade.

Some of the long riders want to shoot down the Confederate flag. Others have oiled their long rifles for the promised cavalry charge against the National Rifle Association. Even the Arabs, who have never distinguished themselves on a battlefield, want to join the mob to avenge murder of Christians at Charleston.

The soldiers of CAIR, the loudest Muslim lobbying organization, join the crusade to tear down the Confederate flag wherever they find it, as "a fitting memorial to those slain in one of America's deadliest acts of racist violence." CAIR needs help with American history. Massacre at the World Trade Center, where more than 3,000 Americans were slain for the sin of being Christians, Jews and unbelievers, set the standard for massacre. Punks and crazies eager to get their names in the Guinness Book of Records will be shooting at 9/ll for decades to come.

Gov. Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, surrendered to the mob lateMonday, joining the demand to send the Confederate flag to "the dustbin of history," as one leader of the mob put it. The governor called the rally, where several state officials, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, gathered in a ceremony to join the mob, "a moment of unity." The Republican National Committee, always eager to cower in the face of controversy, praised the governor. Chairman Reince Priebus assured everyone that he has been praying for South Carolina but he forgot the "thoughts" that politicians, not known for dropping to their knees except before donors, usually attach to their "prayers" when they invoke clichés on occasions of tragedy.

There's an argument for furling with honor the banner of Lee, Jackson and the Confederate soldiers who died in great numbers defending kith, kin, home and hearth from plundering invading armies, and thoughtful men and women could make that argument. None try. Taking down the flag from government buildings won't eliminate the flag from abuse of the trash eager despoil it, nor would it relieve the pain of those rendered prostrate by the sight of the St. Andrews Cross fluttering in the breeze.

The flag will almost certainly become more popular than ever now as an act of defiance of the politically correct who dream of strangling free speech and all expressions of opinion not Officially Approved. If the flag is so bad, where have they been all these years?

A certain kind of Republican, like the worthies at the national committee, is always eager to prove that "we're not as bad as you think," and expect to be rewarded with flattering mentions in the press. It never happens, and they never learn. They dream of surrendering on "immigration reform," too, and would cave on the Second Amendment as well but for their fears, soundly based, that if they do they will never be heard from again.

Hillary Clinton's Charleston shtick is not the Confederate flag, but guns, and how to best exploit the Charleston tragedy. "Let's just cut to the chase," she told one interviewer. "It's guns and we have to have a better balance." No guns on one hand, and no guns on the other hand is the balance she prescribes. She and Bubba have been successful robbers without guns, so who needs them?

Taking a cue from their partisan leader, the Democrats are trying to out-do each other in coming up with the most deeply purple eloquence against shooting people in church. (They're all against it.) Sen. Bernie Sanders, the strongest, or at least the most visible, needle in Hillary's backside, talks not of the Confederate flag or guns but "the ugly stain of racism."

Martin O'Malley, the former governor Maryland, uses a urinary vulgarism to express the depth of his disdain for shooting children. "I'm [urinated]," he says. "I'm [urinated] that we're actually asking ourselves the horrific question of 'what will it take?'"

Not quite every politician is acting the jerk. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey understands that further refining of gun laws won't prevent another massacre. The urge to kill and maim lies not in laws. Only a change in the culture, as slow and painful as that will be, he told a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, will do that.

If every Confederate flag had long ago been hauled down and burned, if racism had been banished completely, Dylann Roof, a young man with a distorted soul, hatred in his heart and armed with determination, would find a way to satisfy his sick urge to kill. Evil will find a way to the willing heart. Robert E. Lee's flag has nothing to do with it.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.