Two years after the racially motivated massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, South Carolina continues to debate the remnants of the Confederacy. The Confederate flag debate still isn’t resolved, and while monuments to the Lost Cause are being torn down throughout the South, one gubernatorial candidate has pronounced her pride in her Rebel forebears.
When Catherine Templeton was asked at a Republican town hall about her view on the removal of Confederate monuments in other Southern cities, including New Orleans, Templeton said, “Not on my watch. I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it. You cannot rewrite history. I don’t care whose feelings it hurts. You cannot rewrite history.” When she was asked to clarify her comments, Templeton doubled down. “I’ve already said and mean it from the bottom of my heart that I’m proud to be from South Carolina, I’m proud of the Confederacy.” Here’s more:
Later she told the Post Courier, “I am who I am because of my ancestors. I’m proud of my family, and that doesn’t make me a racist. History may make us uncomfortable, but it made us who we are.”
Joe Darby, a presiding elder of the AME church, feels that Templeton prioritized her family history over that of enslaved families. “When you elevate the Confederacy, you stomp on the memories of those who were subjugated, the slaves,” he explained. “She’s stomping on my ancestors. If she’s proud of her heritage over nine lives, it’s a shame.”
Templeton’s views aren’t unusual in South Carolina, the state where a Confederate flag flying over an ice cream shop still can leave a small town divided. The South Carolina Democratic Chairman weighed in on the Republican candidate’s perspective. “It’s extremely sad. It’s evident that neither lives in 21st century,” Robertson said. “The governor of South Carolina is the governor for all people. At the end of the day, I can’t fix dumb-ass.”
The upcoming race will decide just how divisive Templeton’s comments on heritage are, or if South Carolinians aren’t deterred by her belief in the supremacy of her narrative over that of 30% of her constituents.
(Via Post and Courier)