Abolishing America (contd.): War On Southern Symbols Has Hidden Agenda

Just because Confederate flags and similar symbols
have been ripped down from most public places, don`t
imagine the crusade against them is over.

Now that the battle against Confederate symbols on
public property has been largely won, the battle against
the same symbols on private property is just starting.

For South Carolina restaurateur Maurice Bessinger,
the war is already a couple of years old. Mr.
Bessinger`s barbecue restaurant in Columbia, S.C. has
long displayed a Confederate flag outside on a pole in
the parking lot, and inside the owner distributed

tracts and pamphlets
about the Confederacy, the War
Between the States and related issues. Once the war
against the

Confederate flag
on top of South Carolina`s capitol
dome lurched into

high gear
a few years ago, Mr. Bessinger`s
establishment — indeed his very business — was dragged
into jeopardy.

Mr. Bessinger manufactures a


barbecue sauce
that was sold at large chain stores

and Winn-Dixie. All of a sudden, that
stopped. The stores

refused to carry his brand anymore
, some of them
(Wal-Mart, for example) claiming piously that they
didn`t condone the slavery Mr. Bessinger supposedly
defended. (He doesn`t.)

Of course, not condoning slavery didn`t stop Wal-Mart
from selling products manufactured by

slave labor
in Communist China, as Business Week

around the same time. Of course again,
slave labor had nothing to do with it.

The real reason the stores dropped Mr. Bessinger`s
sauce (as he disclosed in an open letter to the public)
was that some people were mounting a concerted campaign
of vandalism against his product on the shelves of the
stores that carried it. Bottles were found opened or
smashed in the aisles at stores across several Southern

With most products, the stores would have deployed
security guards or video cameras and hauled the vandals
into court.

But everyone knew who the vandals were and what race
they belonged to, so no one dared take action.

The action they did dare take was to drop Mr.
Bessinger`s sauce, costing him even today some $5
million a year, and wrap themselves in sonorities about
“not condoning slavery.”

Now, yet another non-condoner of slavery has popped
up, the mammoth corporation

based in South Carolina itself. As the
Washington Post
reported this week, SCANA has
suddenly decided that its employees can`t park company
vehicles in Mr. Bessinger`s parking lot or display the
Confederate flag on their own personal cars in the
company`s parking lot. [“In S.C., Flag Dispute
Enters Private Sector
,”Manuel Roig-Franzia,

Washington Post, Sept 1,

But in South Carolina the Good Old Cause is not
entirely lost, and the company`s actions sparked massive
protests, with marches outside the company headquarters
and one state legislator suggesting he`d look into

the company`s monopoly on gas and
electricity sales.

The company`s attack on Mr. Bessinger “just hit me as
a basic slap at free speech and freedom of statement,”
state Sen. Glenn McConnell told the Post. “What
they`re doing is discriminating against a man`s business
because of his political beliefs…. You`re getting on
a slippery slope.”

Actually, we`re quite a ways down the slippery slope,
and we got there long before corporate behemoths like
SCANA pushed us down it. When black radicals began
whining about the Confederate flag some years ago, their
claim was that they didn`t care if you

displayed the flag on private property
; they just
objected to it on public sites like the state capitol.

Now we see the real agenda, which was to strip away
the flag and similar symbols

, including on private property like Mr.
Bessinger`s restaurant and the SCANA parking lot.

Once the protests started, SCANA apparently got
frightened, as corporate behemoths tend to do when you
yell at them loudly enough. One spokesman said the
bumper sticker ban was still in effect, while the chief
executive officer said it wasn`t. He also told the
threatening lawmaker that his own great-grandfather
fought for the Confederacy.

That`s the kind of grease that a few squeaks of the
wheel can win.

The Post says Mr. Bessinger is “obsessed with
the past” because of his flag and the tracts and
pamphlets he distributes, but of course the

and the boys who push for

for slavery aren`t “obsessed with the
past” because they want to abolish every visible


of a major part of the Southern heritage and

As long as that kind of

non-obsession with the past
flourishes and as long
as corporations spout the cant of “not condoning
slavery” even as they peddle goods made by real slave
labor today, you can expect the war against white,
Southern and Confederate symbols to stay in business.

If the targets of the war want to stop it, they`ll
have to fight it the way Mr. Bessinger and his friends
are fighting it now.


September 05, 2002