Nikki Haley So Sad Dylann Roof Made Confederate Flag All Racist

Well, damn, Nikki Haley is going to be president. We're not any happier about that than you are, but we only have ourselves to blame. Our 2020 Democratic nominee -- based on the current top four candidates -- has a 75 percent chance of being over 70, a 75 percent chance of being male, and a 100 percent chance of being white. I don't have a problem with old white people. I used to leave cookies out for one every Christmas. I'm sure I'll vote for the old guy who's not Trump. I'm just worried. I've lived through Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. (Hillary won that shit. Don't @ me.)

Haley is a woman of color and under 50. She's who you'd think would lead a party with a diverse electorate. She's also the former governor of my home state of South Carolina. She was a Republican who did lots of Republican things, but she demonstrated some humanity in 2015 after Dylann Roof murdered nine black people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. She jeopardized her political capital with the very people who put her in office and ordered the Confederate flag removed from the statehouse.

You can tell Haley has higher political ambitions these days than stroking Donald Trump because she's trying to strike the right balance between doing right by black people and doing right by racists. She sat down for an interview this week with Kentucky colonel Glenn Beck and dropped a load of "Lost Cause" bullshit right on our clean floor.

First, she insisted there are no "hateful" people in South Carolina. There are no bad cooks in the state, but there are definitely hateful people. Haley might recall that one of them shot up a black church. She laughably claimed Roof "hijacked" the Confederate flag's true meaning. Gee, Linus, what was the "true meaning" of the Confederate flag? Haley suggests it was "service, sacrifice, and heritage," and that's technically true. Southerners served in a war to perpetuate the barbaric practice of slavery. Generations of black people "sacrificed" their freedom for this "heritage." When the war ended, the Confederate flag flew high as a warning to the black citizens who endured oppressive Jim Crow laws. Even the conservative Prager University understood that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Slavery is what divided the nation, and slavery is what the Confederacy fought to preserve.

Was the Civil War About Slavery?

Haley is giving herself room to win a Republican primary. I get that. Roof is a convenient scapegoat to blame for the loss of white people's favorite racist flag. Haley wants you to believe the Confederate flag wasn't racist when 164 people were lynched in South Carolina. It wasn't racist when public schools were segregated. It wasn't racist when South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond filibustered against civil rights. It was just the one, horrific hate crime that did the trick.

It's also possible Haley could appear on a Republican ticket earlier than 2024. If the Democratic ticket is all-white or worse all-male, there's no better counter move for Trump than to trade Mike Pence in for Haley. She'd certainly make it harder for a white nominee to rail against how racist and sexist Trump and the GOP are. So, sure, this is the smart move for Haley. It doesn't matter if it costs her whatever lingering tiny scrap of a shred of respect we might've had for her. No one reading this was going to vote for her anyway.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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