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Mon Jun 29, 2015, 02:35 AM

"Ten days that turned America into a better place" Michael Cohen~ The Guardian~ [View all]


Some day, people are going to write books about what happened over the last 10 days in the United States. It began with a depressing reminder of what is, perhaps, the worst of America. A disturbed young man, armed with an easily obtainable and high-calibre handgun, shot down nine people in cold blood. It was a shocking act, but largely because Americans have become so inured to the daily carnage of gun violence that the only types of incidents that stand out are those that are uniquely horrific.

Of course, what made the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, so particularly notable was the where and why – a white gunman, nine African-American victims, a historic black church in the cradle of the former Confederacy. Dylann Roof’s crime was distinctively evil, but the sentiments underpinning it were depressingly familiar. They reflect the original and ongoing sin of this nation – the more than two centuries of mistreatment, prejudice and discrimination visited by white America upon black America.

But then something amazing happened. Practically overnight, America had a national epiphany. For decades, the Confederate flag, which has flown on the grounds of the state capitol building in South Carolina and across the south, became recognised for what it truly is – not a symbol of regional heritage, but a painful, modern symbol of racial exclusion.

Within days of the shooting, politicians across the Deep South couldn’t run fast enough to the nearest microphone or television camera to denounce a flag that a week earlier they would have self-righteously defended. Corporations from eBay to Wal-Mart quickly joined in, announcing their newfound realisation that the stars and bars causes pain. By the end of the week, there were serious discussions taking place in both north and south of removing all vestiges of Confederate reverence – statues to southern generals, schools and highways named after Americans who, at their core, were racists and traitors.

MOre at the link~ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/28/ten-days-that-made-america-a-better-place


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