As quietly as if a church mouse did it, the Georgia state holiday known for decades as Robert E. Lee Day this year became the decidedly more generic “State Holiday.”
And if that's not bad enough.
The decision was followed last week by a congressional vote last week to remove Confederate flags from federal cemeteries – again to only minor protest.
Meanwhile in upstate NY, we have assholes upset because they can't go to the Washington County Fair and buy them.
Clearly, this shift is a product of the backlash against the shooting of nine black church members by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., last year. But even so, the rapidity with which Confederate symbols are being erased after 150 years of deep cultural poignancy is astonishing.
There are a few Matt Funiciello notes I want to make in linking to this story. The first is to mention once again how he broadcast a radio show the day after that shooting (as well as San Bernardino) and said not one word about guns and their lethal use.
Big business is bringing in its own set of values and outsiders – both Yankees and immigrants – are reshaping the South’s big cities.
That touches on the other, which is the constant drumbeat of how evil corporations are. I live in Fort Edward. Ask me about GE or ask people in Bhopal about Union Carbide. I don't believe every corporation is evil. I do believe we would not survive at this point in history without them. If there were not corporations growing food, then processing it and then transporting it there would be famine. You're not going to locavore your way out of that.
Corporations have had a growing influence over policy – especially in their outspoken opposition to laws they deemed discriminatory. Indeed, corporations have become far more willing to wade into hot-button debates in order to signal inclusive values to increasingly picky consumers.
One such moment came in Charlotte, N.C., in 1996, when a local theater company put on a play by a gay playwright, sparking outrage over arts funding from the conservative Mecklenburg County Commission. Former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl issued a passionate response, in essence telling state and local leaders that if the state wants to compete in the global economy, it has to strive for a free and open society.