It is no secret that racism is alive and well in South Carolina (Does Dylann Roof ring a bell?) — but a gubernatorial candidate made public statements that are a blatant slap in the face to the state’s entire black population and the nine churchgoers killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
Catherine Templeton (R-South Carolina) is hoping to become the next governor of South Carolina; however, during a candidate forum this week she stated that she’s “proud of the Confederacy” and promised to keep the state’s Confederate monuments intact should she be elected, ThinkProgress reports.
The former South Carolina labor department director’s remarks came in response to a man in attendance at the forum who identified himself as “a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.”
“I guess you’ve seen all the monuments being took [sic] down in Louisiana and all the anti-southern things going on, and I feel anti-southernism is not a conservative value,” he said. “I’d like to know your opinion on southern heritage and southern defense.”
Templeton replied with, “Not on my watch,” before praising the Confederacy. “You cannot rewrite history — I don’t care whose feelings it hurts."
“We’re standing on the shoulders of giants in South Carolina,” she continued. “And it’s why we are who we are and where we are, and I very much respect the men who gave their homes their fortunes and their lives to put us in this position. Fortunately we have a way too, you know, that protects us, and I’m sure it will be enforced.”
Later in the forum, she doubled down on her support of the Confederacy, which fought to preserve slavery in the South.
“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,” she said.
When she was asked whether she would have supported the decision to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds following the Charleston church shooting, she offered a roundabout response that seems to imply she may have gone a different route if it was up to her.
“I think what we did was we reacted,” she said. “I think that’s what happens in government a lot. We have an emergency, and we create a response because it’s the only thing we have control over.”
“I’m not going to second guess what the people in the Statehouse did when I wasn’t there,” she added. “I live in Charleston, and I drive by Mother Emanuel on a daily basis. And a bad person took something that’s dear to us, took our heritage and turned it into hate. And I think we acted as a result.”
While it may be true that Roof is one person who used the flag to justify a terrible act, the legacy of the Confederacy and the Confederate flag symbolized racism long before he came along.
As the president of the Charleston NAACP chapter, Dot Scott aptly noted: “Dylann Roof did not rewrite history. He was reflecting history the way it is.”
Templeton's words only perpetuate the racist principles our country was founded upon and should be ashamed of.
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