There must be something in the water in South Carolina. A few weeks back calipygian had a diary on the South Carolina legislature debating a bill to make profanity (either spoken or written) a felony punishable by a fine up to $5000, or a jail term of up to 5 years in prison. The South Carolina Senate could probably save a lot of time & taxpayer money if they could locate a copy of the U.S. Constitution (see: Amendment I). However, now it seems the same state senator who introduced that turd of a bill is turning towards a critical issue in the Palmetto State. The economy? No. Increasing health care coverage within the state? No.
According to the AP, it's a bill that would require South Carolina cities and counties to give their workers a paid day off to honor the soldiers of the Confederate States of America, or lose millions in state funds.
Now, I don't care what anyone wants to believe. If you want to believe in UFOs, Xenu, or Flying Spaghetti Monsters, that's our right as Americans (except maybe those of you in South Carolina, if they decide to tack on some more to the profanity bill). If somebody wants to fly a Confederate Flag, or dress up in a gray uniform & reenact Shiloh, I could give a fuck less. One of the most beautiful things about this country is that people have a Right to be Wrong.
Where this kind of shit really bothers me though is when state or local governments use taxpayer money to honor an entity that killed more members of the United States Military than any other in history.
The Confederate Holiday Bill in South Carolina was introduced by State Senator Robert Ford, who's also responsible for the profanity bill and happens to be African American. He argues an equivalence to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, and that celebrating both days can "bring people together."
Democratic Sen. Robert Ford's bill won initial approval from a Senate subcommittee Tuesday. It would force county and municipal governments to follow the schedule of holidays used by the state, which gives workers 12 paid days off, including May 10 to honor Confederate war dead. Mississippi and Alabama also recognize Confederate Memorial Day.
Years ago, Ford said, he pushed a bill to make both that day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day paid holidays. He considered it an effort to help people understand the history of both the civil rights movement and the Confederacy in a state where the Orders of Secession are engraved in marble in the Statehouse lobby, portraits of Confederate generals look down on legislators in their chambers and the Confederate flag flies outside. "Every municipality and every citizen of South Carolina, should be, well, forced to respect these two days and learn what they can about those two particular parts of our history," Ford said Tuesday.
[...]Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, supports the bill — and holding back chunks of the more than $300 million the state sends local governments each year. Counties and cities "should be respectful of that as political subdivisions of the state," said McConnell, a Civil War re-enactor who runs a Charleston Confederate wares gallery and on Tuesday fretted how new junk metal collection legislation might affect his cannon. "If they don't want to be a subdivision of the state, then don't take the money."
Of course, there's the whole issue of the cost of forcing local & county governments to honor the Confederate Holiday ("Greenville County... would spend $156,900, much smaller Laurens County would spend $37,080"). I wonder if Federal Stimulus money gets to cover the cost?
Also, Lonnie Randolph, president of the state conference of NAACP branches, had this reaction:
"Here Senator Ford is talking about the importance of race relations by forcing recognition of people who did everything they could to destroy another race — particularly those that look like I do," Randolph said. "You can't make dishonor honorable. It's impossible."