suspect there is a little something psychologicallyrnwrong with people whose livesrnseem to revolve around correcting otherrnpeople who live at a distance. It is not arnpart of our regional character, but it definitelyrnis of theirs.rnSurfing the net during the controversy,rnI came across a diatribe against our flagrnby a certified academic. According tornthis learned gentieman (and he is ratherrntypical), the South is a demonic culturernresponsible for all the evils of the knownrnworld. He is alarmed that “the Southernrngun culture,” as typified by the OklahomarnCity bombing, is in danger of takingrnover the whole country.rnNow, let’s see. A weirdo from NewrnYork, trained as a killer by the U.S. government,rncomes to the South and blowsrnup several hundred people. Ah, the evilrn”Southern gun culture” at work again.rnDoubtless, the Unabomber from Harvardrnand Berkeley is just one more example._rnIt’s an old story. The abolitionists proclaimedrnthe depravity of Southerners andrntheir own whiteness of soul while theyrnwere financing loohng and killing on arnmass scale in Missouri. In films, the dangerousrnkiller has a Southern accent, ofrncourse. The facts are that most of the notoriousrnmass murderers of recent yearsrnhave been Yankees who roamed thernSouth for their victims, like that nicernMormon boy, Ted Bundy. Yes, what anrnideal place America would be if we couldrnjust finish wiping out those Rebs!rnNo doubt the 150,000 Yankees whornmove to South Carolina every year arernbraving the perils out of unselfish dedicationrnto missionary work. In fact, I’ll betrnthe academic mentioned above wouldrnjump at the chance to labor at enlightenmentrnin one of our colleges.rnWe Southerners are, in many ways, arnsimple people. We like to think of ourselvesrnas Americans and don’t even noticernthe hate we get. Many of the turncoatsrnin the legislature blathered atrnlength about their dedication to the UnitedrnStates. That misguided sentiment,rnand a vague (and false) hope that removalrnof the flag would enhance racial conciliation,rnwere the only decent motives involvedrnin their betrayal.rnIf it is difficult to see what the Republicanrnleadership hoped to gain (althoughrnvisions of federal judgeships and assistantrnsecretaryships in the Bush administrationrndanced in many heads), it is easy to seernwhat the NAACP got out of the controversy.rnFormerl}’ wracked by debt andrnleadership scandals, it is now riding withrnfull coffers and great momentum. Itsrnleaders don’t see the “compromise” toutedrnby Republican leaders: They see victop.’.rnI will bet that the campaign againstrnConfederate symbols is building toward arndemand for reparations for slavery. Yournheard it here first: After the elections, expectrna Democratic bill for ten billion dollarsrna year for ten years. The Republicansrnwill compromise with niire billion dollarsrnand federal gun confiscafion.rnThe public obsession with the domesticrnservitude that existed in this countryrn(and others) up until a century and a halfrnago has reached the dimensions of Bolshevikrnindoctrination. The NationalrnPark Service is now de-emphasizing battiesrnat its battlefield parks and emphasizingrnslavery. That slavery was the most importantrnissue in American histor’, or evenrnthe most important issue in the War ofrnSouthern Independence, would astonishrnLincoln, Grant, and Sherman.rnYet the victory in the banishing of thernrebel banner from honor in South Carolinarndoes not go to African-Americans orrneven to their official leaders. It goes tornthe South Carolina Chamber of Commerce,rnwhich spent hundreds of thousandsrnof dollars and carried out a lobbyingrncampaign of vicious intensity over arnperiod of years.rnThe state Republican Party, a whollyrnowned subsidiary ot the Chamber ofrnCommerce, doubtless hopes to make thernbest of the situation, expecting that thernNAACP will get the blame and that thernvoters will forget the GOP’s betrayal.rnThey are politicians, and polificians (unlikernstatesmen) always look at short-rangernbenefits, the next poll, and the nextrnbrown bag of cash. The GOP, however,rnmay be surprised. A Republican governorrnhas already been kicked out for betrayingrndefenders of the flag, and in arnnon-binding referendum, over 70 percentrnof Republicans voted not to removernthe flag. The most popular bumper stickerrnin South Carolina now is “No Votesrnfor Turncoats,” followed by “Take itrnDown” (next to a picture of the Stars andrnStripes).rnOur flag was not only internationalrnnews but a major issue in the presidentialrncampaign comedy. Of course, Al Gore isrnagainst us, though he comes (nominally)rnfrom a state replete with Confederate observancesrnand symbols. The statesmanlikernMr. Bush opined that the flag was arnmatter for South Carolinians alone to decide,rnwhich allowed him an easy victorvrnin the primary. Traditionalists and proflagrnpeople, however, don’t trust Bushesrnand were poised to vote for Alan Keyes.rnTwo or three days before the election, inrna move obviously orchestrated to benefitrnBush, Keyes attacked the flag and BobrnJones University, leaving the field openrnto the governor from Connecticut (er,rnTexas).rnRegarding the sincerih’ of Mr. Bush’srnneutral position on the flag, let me mentionrnmerely that Bush’s number onerncampaign man in South Carolina is thernsame fellow who has headed the massivelyrnfunded, pro-business anti-flag campaignrnfor the past several years.rnBut the real comic relief was providedrnby Senator McCain, who, like manyrnmore prominent Americans than arernwilling to admit it, has Confederate ancestors.rnHis position was that he understoodrnwhy people honor the flag, implyingrnthat it was okay vvifli him. .After thernelection, he made a special trip back torntell us that he had lied to help hisrnchances in the primary, and that the flagrnof the Confederacy is evil and must bernbanished (as if anybody cares what hernthinks). The comedy is heightenedrnwhen you realize, which he apparenflyrndid not, that his lie did not help him at allrnbecause the Bush people had made surernhis real opiniorr was widely circulated.rnSo our legislators have agreed withrnthose who say that our flag is a symbol ofrnhate. They caved in to pressure, but thisrnis what Republicans do. Remember hov’rnNixon campaigned against the Democrats,rnand then adopted all of their programsrnand their unpopular war? You canrnno doubt recall your own favorite Republicanrntreason against conservative voters.rnWe made a mistake in allowing thernpoliticians to frame the issue as merel-rnone of “heritage.” Heritage can be acknowledgedrnin one place as well as anotiier.rnThose of us who wanted to keeprnour flag where we could see it every dayrndid so because we realize that the bloodyrnSt. Andrew’s Cross has not so much to dornwith history, the Civil War, or slavery. Itrnis, rather, the most potent symbol in thernworld today of a spirit of resistance to allrnthat is summed up bv the label “NewrnWorld Order”—and it is universally recognizedrnas such.rnThe showboating mayor of Charlestonrnorganized a march from the sea to therncapitol to protest the flag, with variousrnsports figures and other celebrities. It wa;rna media event, with only three people acrn38/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn