Thursday, July 9, 2015


The lower house in South Carolina voted its concurrence yesterday with the upper house's resolution, to transfer the battle flag of Confederate secession from atop a flagpole designated for it by prior statute, to archival display in a museum of State history. This is in direct consequence of extremely terrible publicity the flag had drawn last month, as an icon attractive to a mass murderer. The same Governor, who one day before survivors publicly forgave that figure, clamored at the microphone for his extinguishment, had been at pains to stipulate that she supported this act with no ad-verse reflection upon the flag's previous life. She is being touted again for that "bucket of warm spit," the second highest office in this nation.

When publicly funded placements of crèches and other iconography of widely held beliefs have sometimes been deemed, judicially or other-wise, to be inappropriate where they are, there has often been a great outcry that the experience of belief, and its claim to ful-fillment by expression - much less, by exclusionary enactments, as in matrimony - will endure a grievous wound. But as one looks about, at the sales figures for observances of these beliefs, they fail to show it; the number of recordings of celebrations fails to show it; the holding of ceremonial festivals fails to show the decline or the abatement foretold. Murder and procreation, too, are likely to be safe from any progress. 

It is only fortunate, then, that demography and long-deferred voter registrations have made it expedient for those who've flourished by the past to compete for flourishing in the present. Even as expanded voter registrations, and the equal protection of the ballot ("one man, one vote") endure renewed, reinvented attack, those who've flourished by the past have gained enough experience with the relo-cation of icons, to know how to extract their import, even in their transit. 

It's July and in South Carolina the young are stepping into every available tide, lake and stream. Isn't it remarkable, how in this act, more possibly even than at this age, they resemble, even reveal, an unprovincial character, claiming an amenity, of which the defining, irresistible promise is the same for everyone? The animals come in herds or flocks or packs, but only for themselves. Yet every time that one, solitary fellow immerses himself in the stream, he discovers the feeling of everyone else. As if it might be all they could expect, they step like mammals toward refreshment, who come to inhabit adjustment.

The times won't be changing South Carolinians. It's grounds enough for celebration, to have them all.


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