In light of last week's tragic shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, we seem to be in a moment where one of the enduring symbols of slavery in America -- the Confederate flag -- will be relegated to the dustbin of history where it belongs.
While the South Carolina legislature is actively debating whether to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) did just that on Wednesday, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) put an end to license plates with the emblem. Major retailers like Walmart, eBay and Amazon have pulled merchandise with the insignia from their stores.
Not so fast, says Rachel Maddow, who confronted the brimming controversy over the Confederate flag on her show Wednesday.
“We’re experiencing … this rush to at least propose getting rid of the symbols of white supremacy that we have let linger in our country for a long time now,” Maddow said. “We’re having this lightning-fast recalibration of what’s OK and what’s not OK when it comes to overt racism.”
But Maddow pointed out that, despite the momentum, getting rid of the Confederate battle flag may be harder than it looks. For instance, she explained, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) opposes removing the symbol from the state’s license plates. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has also resisted removing the Confederate insignia from the state’s flag -- the only state flag that still incorporates it in its design. (Georgia removed it in 2004, replacing the battle flag with the original but less well-known "Stars and Bars" design.)
“We are experiencing a moment of really fast movement right now, but that does not mean we are experiencing a new consensus,” Maddow said. “What has just started here is a fight, and it’s unpredictable as to how it’s going to turn out.”
“But the fight is on,” she added.
This article has been updated with additional information about Confederate insignia in contemporary state flags.