Having visited Charleston, the "holy city", for the first time last year, I was extremely impressed by the charm and placidity of the city and the grace, amiability and propriety of the Charlestonians themselves. Frankly, I lamented my return to New York State following that most pleasant of visits. Charleston is a very special place, indeed.
When the awful news of the Charleston church massacre was televised, I immediately sent the following text to my nephew who was at his summer home in upstate New York:
"When I visit you again in Charleston this winter, let's be sure to check out the church where the massacre occurred. By the way, because Charleston folks have class and dignity I am not worried about Ferguson or Baltimore-like insanity and turmoil in the wake of this monstrous shooting no matter how much inciting by the likes of racist dividers Sharpton and Obama. For the first time in a very long time, the country will vividly see how a civilized American city behaves in a disaster. Charleston will prove to be a beacon of civility and Christianity." My nephew promptly agreed.
And so it has been.
And, by the way, this dopey caterwauling about taking down the Confederate Flag in Charleston is obscenely stupid, insulting and short-sighted. If we are to rid ourselves of flags which remind us of the evils of slavery, then EVERY flag flown in the United States since 1776 must be eliminated as well. Under those banners, and under the protection of union law, slavery flourished.
Let's hope Charlestonians do not succumb to this insipid and mindless demand to take down their state flag. For me, the Confederate Flag is an honorable reminder of the pre-eminence of federalism and the inherent right of a State to break from any union which would abridge its constitutional sovereignty. It is also a tribute to those hundreds of thousands of Southern patriots--which include blacks as well--who selflessly and heroically gave their lives in defense of their nation. These patriots' sacrifices should never be forgotten or impugned. They are no less heroic than those thousands of Union soldiers who gave their lives to maintain an "indivisible union" and to end slavery in the Confederate States of America.