With the South Carolina House of Representatives voting to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the Statehouse this morning, further outrage from the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group, can be expected.
Since the announcement that South Carolina would be taking that vote and the news that Alabama had decided to remove the flag from its own Capitol grounds, the neo-secessionist group has been making a show of feeling sorry for itself. Complaining that Southern whites and their symbols are suffering a “cultural genocide,” the LOS has even drawn comparisons between criticism of the flag and ISIS’s destruction of historical landmarks in Iraq and Syria.
So why were leaders from the LOS calling for the Confederate battle flag to be confined to museums more than a year ago?
“The Confederate Battle Flag IS a traditional symbol of the Southern people. It belongs in a museum alongside other relics and artifacts of the Confederacy,” wrote Brad Griffin, founder of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent and a major LOS organizer, last year. “It should only be displayed at ceremonial occasions or at heritage related events.”
“In the last fifty years, the Confederate Battle Flag has been debauched as a symbol and has taken on a negative meaning which it didn’t have half a century ago,” Griffin continued. “It has become a ‘redneck pride’ symbol. It is worn on tacky bikinis by tasteless women.”
The hate group even suspended the use of that “redneck pride symbol” at its events nearly two years ago in a calculated attempt to make the LOS’s public face less extreme and more approachable to potential recruits. To the chagrin of many of its members, the organization also switched to a new white flag with a black St. Andrew’s cross of its own design, deemed the Southern Nationalist flag.
But with the controversy that erupted around moving the Confederate battle flag to a museum, as was suggested by Griffin, the hypocrites at the LOS have wasted no time pulling a 180 into full victim mode.
In the words of Michael Hill, president of the LOS, on the group’s website, “The Confederate battle flag, along with our other cultural icons, is not merely an historical banner that represents the South. It is a shorthand symbol of our very ethnic identity as a distinct people-Southerners.”
That “redneck pride symbol” adorning the bikinis of “tasteless women” all across the South has, apparently, become the immutable core of Southern identity once again.