Thursday, June 25, 2015

So is the Confederate flag...

...issue over? Is that it? Is it settled? Do we all agree now that it should come down everywhere at once? Hardly.

On Tuesday the New York Times ran a piece titled, "Confederate Flag Sales Soar as Retailers Pull Stock." Huh? What? My emphasis:

Yet even as companies were vowing to discontinue the items, sales of them were soaring. Confederate flags jumped to the top of Amazon’s Patio, Lawn & Garden category, with purchases of some items spiking by more than 5,000 percent.

By midafternoon Tuesday, the Dixie Flag Company in San Antonio had sold 25 Confederate flags in 24 hours, according to the company’s president, Pete Van de Putte. Usually, the company has no more than three orders a week for the flags and sometimes only three in a month, he said.

The reasons for the purchases varied significantly. One customer at a small Georgia shop told the owner she wanted to line her front yard with Confederate flags. Mr. Van de Putte said a black man had come into Dixie Flags on Monday with his young daughter seeking to buy the biggest Confederate flag in the store. He said he was buying it to burn it.

While large retailers were feeling public pressure to pull the items from their shelves and websites, a number of smaller companies refused to stop selling Confederate-related merchandise, no matter how controversial.

At Wildman’s, a jumble of a shop in Kennesaw, Ga., about 40 miles from Atlanta, that sells numerous sizes of Confederate flags, along with magnets, license plates and barbecue aprons, the 84-year-old owner, Dent Myers, said of Walmart and others: “They are chicken. Kowtowing to the herds.”

My guess is that there is still a huge number of southerners who love the Confederate flag. (Why do you think it was flying at the South Carolina state capitol in the first place?) And some Republican candidate for president -- I don't know which one -- will figure out that there's a niche in the race for someone who taps into that sentiment. (Democrat Jim Webb is already making noises like that.) So if a Democrat (!) can speak up for the Confederate flag, surely some Republican will come along and follow suit. 

Support for the flag may be in retreat, but don't kid yourself: it's not over. Stay tuned.

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