FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is a New South Coming?

“It is time to move the flag from the capitol grounds.” With those words, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley captured the new understanding that came after the brutal murders of nine church members in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Over the weekend, I attended the emotionally draining funerals held for the slain. The governor attended each, receiving thanks for her commitment.

The blood of martyrs often changes the way we see. That was true after Emmett Till’s mutilated 14-year-old body was displayed in an open casket in 1955. It was true in 1963, after the four little girls were blown up in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. It was true after Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. In South Carolina, the “amazing grace” of the relatives of the victims, directly offering the murderer forgiveness opened the way. The governor’s declaration on the flag took the first step. Now states and companies across the South are taking down the Confederate flags and putting them — so long a symbol of hate — into the museums where it belongs.

Removing the flag is long overdue. But for the crucifixion to turn into a resurrection will require removing the flag agenda, not just the flag, addressing the substance, not just the symbol. South Carolina — like many states of the old Confederacy — has refused to accept federal money to expand Medicaid. This deprives at least 160,000 lower-income workers of affordable health care, and costs an estimated 200 lives a year. It deprives the state of $12 billion in federal money from 2014 to 2020. That costs the state’s hospitals and medical facilities dearly. South Carolina could use this moment to accept the money and aid its workers, disproportionately people of color.

South Carolina is one of the states — aligning once more with many in the old Confederacy — to pass measures restricting the right to vote, particularly an onerous voter ID law, challenged by the NAACP and others as racially discriminatory. The state could express the consciousness by repealing this law.

South Carolina State University, the historically black college in Orangeburg, is imperiled. It remains open, still accredited but on probation due to its financial difficulties. The state has changed its leadership. Now is the time for the state to act boldly to rescue the only historically black college in the state.

As President Obama stated in his memorial address, we’ve had enough talk about race. Now is time for action. Action that will turn this act of terror into an era of new hope, this expression of the Old South into a reaffirmation of the New South, this crucifixion into a resurrection.

Action now is essential for the old forces of hate and division still exist. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that five predominantly black churches have caught fire over the past week, four in the South and one in Ohio, apparent targets of arsonists. Only continued action to bring us together can insure that we overcome those who would use terror and fear to drive us apart.

Gov. Haley has shown the way. She didn’t wait for opinion polls. She didn’t put her finger into the wind to see which way it was blowing. She worried about her state, asking “How are we ever going to pull this back together.” And so she acted on the flag, starting a movement that is sweeping the South. Now the governor might show the way once more. Moving to pull the state together by acting on the substance of divisions as well as the symbols. The blood of the martyrs has once more forced us to look anew. Now is the time to act boldly to express this new consciousness.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH. 

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail