How many people would it take push down the Confederate flag over the South Carolina Capitol?


Originally, I was thinking that we could just swarm the flag with a hundred drones outfitted with razorblades, operated from nearby vans. And I still like the visual of the Confederate flag being shredded to ribbons as police officers tried unsuccessfully to knock the drones from the sky with rocks. The more that I think about it, though, the more I think that something more human is called for. And I really like the idea of a solemn crowd bringing the flagpole down by silently pushing against it in unison. I don’t know if such a thing would be possible, though, given how these things are designed, but the idea of it just makes me so happy that I wanted to share it here and see what, if anything, might come of it.

update: Now I’m thinking that the best path forward might be to offer a bounty of some kind. Let’s say that we were able to crowdsource a reward of $10,000 for the first person to successfully either destroy the flag flying over the South Carolina Capitol, or bring down the flagpole it flutters from, without hurting anyone in the process. I’d have to think that might generate some serious thought as to how this could be accomplished. Of course, it’s probably illegal to offer a reward for someone to engage in property destruction, but maybe that’s OK.

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  1. Air Bud
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    If it can’t be pushed over, perhaps it could be sawed through.

  2. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    You could replace the flag with a banner that reads “mission accomplished”…

  3. Erika Nelson
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I’m no flag expert or anything, but aren’t they attached to ropes, so that they can be raised and lowered? Would a pair of scissors do the trick? The whole pole doesn’t have to come down just to get the flag to fall off. Or am I missing something about the mechanics of the rope pulley thing?

  4. Erika Nelson
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Oh, never mind. I just found this: “A further obstacle to critics of the Confederate flag: It’s affixed to the pole, and can’t come down unless someone gets up there and pulls it down — which would be illegal anyway.

    “The flag is part of a Confederate War Memorial, and is not on a pulley system, so it cannot be lowered, only removed,”

  5. Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t rule anything out. Destroying the flag would be impactful. My sense, however, is that removing the pole itself would send a stronger message. The flag would just be replaced… possibly within hours. Replacing the pole would be more of an undertaking.

  6. Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Also, the podcast isn’t available yet, but Matt Siegfried and I talked for a while on last night’s radio show about the flag. And he raised a good point. It’s not just the Confederate flag. And it’s not just a southern issue. As he pointed out, many of our streets here in Ypsi, and in Detroit, are named after slave owners. I still believe the flag is a better, more immediate target, but his point, I think, it well taken. The problem goes deeper than this one flag in this one southern state.

  7. Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’d love to see someone plan a silent vigil for the South Carolina Capitol which culminated in the collective pushing down of this flagpole. I know that, in reality, though, it would be near impossible to accomplish. Tempers would likely get the better of folks on both sides, and tear gas canisters would fly.

  8. Dan
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Policemen don’t throw rocks. They shoot bullets. I imagine that the violence would come less from the person or people trying to get the flag down than from others trying to prevent the act. The idea that the flag is a memorial, a part of history, and therefore somehow ok is the most specious argument I’ve heard.

  9. Brainless
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    One can assume the pole is likely an aluminum alloy. There is some sort of substance that corrodes aluminum almost instantly. You could so easily just walked by this poll put some of that substance on it and wait.

  10. Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    None of us has the right to vote in South Carolina. I’m doubting that anything you guys will do will have any effect at all.

    The Confederate Flag exists to shore up the rural white vote. Until those minds change, nothing will change.

  11. Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    One thought about a crowd of people taking down the flag, remember this: a big part of why it’s still around is the notion that “Yankees won’t tell us what to do” (anything above the Mason-Dixon line might as well be New York City). I think it’s important that the South (including me) do this ourselves. We need to send a message to the small but powerful contingent that we are done supporting their racism. We aren’t going to stand by while they tell their jokes. We aren’t going to buy in to the “black people are dangerous” shit. As a white, transplanted Southerner, I want to see something happen/make something happen that makes it clear that the Confederate flag does not represent my race, my Southern heritage or my world view. I don’t yet know what that is.

  12. Rick Cronn
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    It will take a majority at the ballot box. 50% + 1

  13. Taco Farts
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    It only takes one person if that person is rich enough.

  14. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    In Montgomery Alabama when there was a need for change it was done with a boycott. Could the same be done in South Carolina until they let go of their racist, officially state sanctioned confederate flag, flying at their State capitol?

  15. Posted June 22, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, a bunch of Yankees coming down and forcibly taking down the flag would create a pretty serious backlash.

    The effort would wholly backfire.

  16. Posted June 22, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Edmund Ruffin, just before he shot himself in 1865. This sentiment did not die with him:

    “And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will [be] near to my latest breath, I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race.[10]:230”

  17. Meta
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    SC Governor Will Reportedly Call for Confederate Flag to Be Removed

    Days after nine people were murdered in a racist attack on a black church in Charleston, and after studiously ignoring the issue for as long as she could, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is holding a press conference at 4 p.m. today, where she’ll reportedly call for the removal of the Confederate flag that flies over the statehouse.

    Haley defended the flag last year by saying CEOs don’t mind it and the state isn’t losing business because of it. Her office office declined to tell local news station WISTV the reason for the press conference, but several news outlets, including the conservative blog FITS, are saying that she plans to call for the flag’s removal.

  18. Andy Cameron
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I prefer a widespread, coordinated, and publicized series of ugly racist traitor flag burnings.

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