End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00

An Open Message To South Carolina's Governor From Governor Don Siegelman

Written by Gov. Don Siegelman

The Confederate Flag means different things to different people. It symbolizes and expresses thought, so it is protected by the First Amendment, but those thoughts which may be expressed by individuals, should never be endorsed by a state government. 

Unfortunately, this flag has hurtful associations and meanings as well as the positive elements of heritage and tradition that some people see when it flies. The right to fly the Confederate flag is not the issue; every individual has that right. But those thoughts which may be expressed by individuals, should never be endorsed by a state government.

Because the Confederate Flag symbolizes hate, white supremacy, lynching, and racism to many Americans, it is not a symbol that should be endorsed by any government or official but rather relegated to battlefields, museums, and private property of individuals. It has no place on any capitol dome or any government property.

I was the first Governor of Alabama to serve without the Confederate flag controversy flying over the dome.

George Wallace had it raised as a symbol of "segregation now and segregation forever" in 1963. With his raising of the Confederate flag, violence against Blacks rose.

Murders, the use of police dogs and water cannons, beatings at the hands of state troopers and bombings and murders at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan followed in Wallace's wake.

When government or our officials give a stamp of approval to symbols of hatred and racism, violence is given a green light in the minds of those so predisposed.

As Lt. Governor, I knew the Confederate Flag would kill any chances of Alabama being viewed as part of the "New South". I presided over the State Senate, appointed all committees, and worked with the Senate leadership to make sure any resolution to put the Confederate Flag back atop of the dome, never came up for a vote.

When I was elected Governor in 1998, I was free of the flag issue. I could pursue out of state and foreign investors. I quickly landed Honda's first overseas automobile manufacturing plant. Then came Toyota, a second Mercedes plant, Hyundai, and a division of Fiat. I worked to expand Boeing and Lockheed Martin, transformed our state port at Mobile, Alabama into a first class facility.

Very little could have been accomplished if the Confederate flag had been flying over the capitol. I had defeated a Republican incumbent, who supported the display of the Confederate flag. For the first time since the Goldwater sweep of the South in 1964, as a "liberal" white Democrat, I won a majority of both White and Black voters.

As a footnote, when I was President of the Student Government at the University of Alabama in 1967-1968, recognizing the song "Dixie" was offensive to many students, I met with my counterpart at Auburn University, and we agreed that we would each pass resolutions to stop the playing of "Dixie" at football games. We did. "Dixie" was laid to rest.

It's time for South Carolina to do the same.

#TakeDownTheFlag

Don E. Siegelman
Governor of Alabama, 1999-2003
Lt. Governor, 1995-1999
Attorney General, 1987-1991
Secretary of State, 1979-1987

Link to original article from DailyKos

Read 6622 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 June 2015 11:39

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Latest News

  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump +

    Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • 1

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.