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Councilman Dumas: Citizens will continually examine our hearts and motives

Published on Thursday, July 9, 2015

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Lee Dumas
Greer City Council (District 4)

Lee Dumas

Greer City Council (District 4)

By LEE DUMAS

Greer City Council (District 4)

As Southerners, we all have a history with the Confederate flag.  For me it started as a kid at Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach every 4th of July weekend.  Our first stop was at a Waves or an Eagles where we bought lounge chairs, sun tanning lotion (not sure we used block back then) and a float to ride the waves. Without fail, every year, I picked out a rebel flag float.  Why?  It looked cool to me.  When I see the flag now, I can feel the sea breeze and can almost taste the salty air remembering some great wave ridging on my trusty float. 

I’m also reminded of the Dukes of Hazard.  Most boys my age aspired to be like Beau or Luke Duke, have a girlfriend like Daisy and one day, own and drive a replica of the General Lee, Confederate flag and all.

In high school our rivals were the Byrnes Rebels.  When I saw the flag back then, it gave me butterflies knowing that that big game was looming at Dixon or Dooley Field in the fall. 

In college, I saw Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish singing that he was tired of hearing about heritage, not hate, while watching other friends join fraternities that proudly waved the flag to commemorate the legacy of their founders that had close ties to the Confederacy.

Talking with most people at present and reading posts by friends on social media, there are differing opinions on both sides.  Some friends are in strong opposition of the flag, other friends are vehement supporters, most choose to stay out of the debate based on what I’ve seen.

Will the decision to bring the flag down impact Greer in some way?  In the short-term, not likely.  I’m not aware of the Confederate flag being tied to anything our city has done in recent history, is doing at present or plans to do in the future.  In the long-term, from the big picture perspective, maybe.  We’re on a slippery slope as a city, state and nation if we start believing we can right all the wrongs in society by cleansing our facades and flag poles of all disagreeable symbols and historical references.  Many have become experts in political correctness and reputation.  Lasting change comes from honest discourse and character.

The Confederate flag means different things to different people and it will continue to stir controversy for years to come.  In my lifetime in the South, the flag symbolized summer time nostalgia, sliding across cars like the Duke Boys, the best of high school Friday nights under the lights, good music and hanging out with friends.  Clearly, during that same period, others saw the flag through a different lens. 

It’s 2015.  Looking back I’ll remember the senseless murders of the Charleston 9, our state’s response as we peacefully mourned their loss and the flag coming down.  Going forward, I hope the citizens of Greer will continually examine our hearts and our motives in all we do, doing our very best for each other and for the greatest State in the Union – South Carolina.

 

 

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