If the Confederate flag was offensive enough to the Texas DMV to ban a license plate with it, you would think that it would be time to stop flying the flag on the lawn of the statehouse in South Carolina.
The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it.
After the fall of the Third Reich, Germany banned the symbols of the Nazi era, including the swastika. It was an ancient symbol used by many cultures including Native Americans, but Hitler and his gang turned it into a sign of evil, repression, and mass murder. (John Ross Bowie tweeted, “The confederate flag is about ‘states rights’ the way the swastika is about ‘fixing the German economy.'”)
Here in America we don’t ban symbols by law. The First Amendment protects the right of people to fly whatever flag they want as long as it’s not obscene, and besides, banning the Confederate flag would only make it a martyr to a lost cause and give its believers something to rally around. But we can remove it from our presence by shaming the otherwise reasonable people who defend the act of flying the flag into taking it down lest they be associated with the Dylann Roofs of the world.