Thursday, September 14, 2017

Some of My Best Friends Are

NC House member Mike Clampitt (Bryson City) held a sparsely attended town hall meeting at Haywood Community College on the day after Labor Day, and someone produced a picture of him gleaming with pleasure amid a display of men with Confederate flags (which Confederate flag detailed below), and then someone else accused him of being "racist."

The news write-up of the confrontation drew this eye-witness comment in the Smokey Mountain News:

I was not the person who called Clampitt a racist at the meeting, but I was the one who brought up his allegiance to the flag that is NOT the official flag of the Confederacy and his being photographed willingly with the men who joined the CAnton Labor Day parade by driving their trucks sporting huge flags -- the flag of the Army of Northern Virigina, which was rejected by the leaders of the Confederacy in favor or another flag.

I asked Mr. Clampitt if he would then and there denounce racism and those who adhere to it. At first he told the long story of his ancestors on both sides and his participation in re-enactments with men
Clampitt town hall, Sept. 5
[playing] Union as well as Confederate soldiers. When he seemed to equate the importance and integrity of Confederate leaders with those of the USA -- the Union. Another audience member pointed out that the Confederates did commit treason in going to war against the US, and doing so to continue to make slaves of other human beings. No real reply addressing that incontrovertible fact.

To give context to my question, I told him about growing up in Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s and watching Bloody Sunday. As a white teenager I was traumatized, but my feelings are nothing compared to what people of color in Selma must have experienced and to what they must still feel whenever they see that execrable flag, which has in every rally where KKK and other white supremacists appeared.

I told him I have no doubt at all that the flag flown by these groups IS a symbol of racism because as a white I had the misfortune to overhear what white racists in the South [say], where I've lived most of my life.

If Mr. Clampitt and his fellow family history buffs want to commemorate their heritage, why not do it accurately by using the real flag the Confederacy adopted instead of the one that sickens those of us who have seen or experienced racism?

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