In the wake of last week’s mass murder in Charleston, SC, amid the usual calls for gun control has come a secondary demand that South Carolina remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. For perhaps the first time, conservative Republicans such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham have joined the calls to remove the flag. As a lifelong Southerner and staunch conservative, I agree that the time has come to lower the Confederate flag.
I grew up respecting the heroes of the Confederacy. As a native Georgian, I learned family lore about my ancestors who had fought for the South, including one great-great-grandfather who was captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864 and then interned at the notorious federal prison camp in Elmira, NY. I still hold a great deal of respect for Confederate leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.