Piece of cake


Hello POINT writers. I really like this paper! I have a hard time finding it in Myrtle Beach, although Conway's library carries it. I like POINT above all because it makes a good point: Not all Southerners are raving right wingers!

I'm from Knoxville, Tenn. myself, and the authorities and the neo-Goebbelsian Right just can't fathom this, that not everyone is in awe of their vicious, Scrooge-like ideals. I also like POINT because it has "Name that Sleazeball." Plus, the little boy on your web pages looks just like my nephew Eric.

Thanks to all!

Dale Collins, Conway

Educating Michael

My name is Michael, and I am a fifth grade student at New Athens Elementary School in New Athens, IL. We are studying the fifty states. I would like to know more about South Carolina, especially the area around Columbia.

Would you please print my letter in the newspaper? I would like to ask your readers to send me anything about your state. Please send the stuff to New Athens Elementary School, 501 Hanft, New Athens, IL 62264.

Michael, New Athens, IL

Flag Flack

Your article about "The Day the Flag Went Up" [Fall 1999] was excellent. I strongly support the Heritage Act compromise passed by the South Carolina Senate in the early 90s, which would not have only removed the flag from the Statehouse dome, but also paid more appropriate honor to the Confederate veterans by placing it on the Confederate soldiers' monument and the Confederate women's monument.

Of special interest to me were the recollections of my former history professor, Dr. Dan Hollis. Dr. Hollis was almost never wrong about anything, but he is not the last surviving member of the South Carolina Confederate War Centennial Commission. Retired Judge Hon. LeHew Bell is alive, living at the old Bell homestead in the Bell Town community of Lancaster County. I am sending him a copy of your article.

Yours very truly,
C. Carlyle Steele, Greenville

The paper is a joy to those of us who, for whatever reasons, are ex-South Carolinians. I was especially pleased to read the article about the latest -- and concerted -- efforts to get that damnable flag off the capitol building. It will be a credit to the lives of those who participate in and support the effort -- and if successful, a blessing to their children and grandchildren!

Keep up the good work.
Emmett Laitala, New Hope, Mn.

The flag controversy in South Carolina is very perplexing. I have tried to look at both sides of this issue, but I honestly can't understand why the Confederate Battle Flag is causing such divisiveness. The Confederate flag flew for only four years over a sovereign nation that practiced slavery. The original colonies and later the U.S. enforced slavery for about 200 years. Why is the U.S. flag not reviled and hated by African-Americans? Great Britain, Spain, Portugal and other western countries practiced slavery for hundreds of years. Why are their flags not hated and reviled? Many African countries practiced slavery for centuries and are the very ones that actually captured and sold their own people to the European slavers. Why are their flags not reviled and hated, sparking boycotts and protests?

Some say the flag should come down because it is associated with the KKK, a sorry lot indeed. Using that logic, we should also forbid the display of a cross, the universally recognized symbol of Christianity. After all, the KKK has been known to burn crosses. I agree 100 percent that slavery was one of the darkest chapters in American and world history, but why single out the Confederate Battle Flag for this special treatment?

Wayne Graves, Tallahassee, FL

Every argument used by supporters of the Rebel Flag over the State House in Columbia could also be used to hoist the Nazi swastika into the same position. A great many South Carolinians, who have come here to work for BMW, its suppliers, and other German firms, have ancestors who fought for the Third Reich. And of course, it is a historical fact that the Third Reich did not exist exclusively to foster race hatred, that many Germans are not racist, and that the use of the swastika by race hate groups since the war should not be allowed to besmirch the honor and courage of many young German men who fought in that war and lost their lives. Many of those youths did not practice race hatred and had no knowledge that the Final Solution was taking the lives of nine million Jews, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Gypsies, gays, lesbians, the mentally retarded and the physically disabled.

Supporters of the Rebel Flag argue that it is impossible to remove every symbol that offends anyone in any way. No one is asking that every symbol which offends be removed. We who oppose the flag are simply opposing this specific symbol which offends in a very specific way several hundred thousand South Carolinians.

If you have difficulty understanding how it hurts to see the Rebel Flag flying over the statehouse, imagine how you would feel if the swastika were there instead. The Confederate Battle Flag was hoisted by an act of the General Assembly to celebrate the centennial of the Civil War. Now that the centennial has passed, perhaps the governor could simply say, "Well, that's over, folks," and take down the flag.

Pat Jobe, Gaffney

The citizens of South Carolina have the right to decide what flag they fly over their public buildings. However, it is confusing for us outside South Carolina to understand why they want to fly a flag that is such a major public relations disaster. Why do Carolinians want to display in public a symbol of insurrection against Constitutional authority, of buying and selling humans, and ultimately of defeat?

Rick Soulier, Provo, Utah

In the article "The Day the Flag Went Up," Fall 1999] by Brett Bursey, I disagreed with the conclusion of the article. While I agree with the statement of "Loyalty to our ancestors does not include loyalty to their mistakes," I think Bursey is misapplying it.

Yes, we should not defend nineteenth century era racism and admire slavery. Can we still honor our Confederate past and not be loyal to our forefather's vices ? The message I get from that article is no, we can't, pull the flag down. That is a very narrow minded view, Northerners themselves do not treat their heroes that way.

For instance, it is perfectly acceptable to celebrate Abraham Lincoln. Yet he was a racist, held views of white supremacy, believed in segregation, and did not want blacks to have the right to vote. Are Northerners loyal to Lincoln? You bet they are! They forgive and forget his mistakes. Is it wrong for us Southerners to admire our ancestors that had similar out dated beliefs? Of course not, but the media is throwing a tirade about us doing likewise.

And about the tariffs, they alone along with trade navigation restrictions were enough for South Carolina to secede. Tariffs nearly resulted in the secession of New England during the War of 1812, so why not the South?

I say honor cultural diversity and allow the flag to keep flying. Don't let the bigotry of the NAACP force it down.

Scott Williams, Missouri

I am the founder of Resources for the Homeless (a web site for the homeless of South Carolina and Richland County in particular). Soon Resources for the Homeless will carry a message supporting the boycott of SC tourism until the Rebel flag is banished from atop the S.C. State House. I ask that others who create S.C. based web sites do the same in support of the boycott.

Also, I ask that Sen. Ravenel resign from office. He has shamed the good people of South Carolina. At the very least, he should be censored by the S.C. Senate.

Mike Flessas, Columbia

For these hyphenated American activists to claim the Confederate flag infringes on their civil rights is infringing on my rights and history. The Confederate flag was and is a symbol of freedom as was the Union Jack. You don't hear much about those who owned slaves in the northern states, but they did.

Those activists who rail against the proud Confederate flag, should put their misused energies to the task of stopping slavery in Africa, China and other parts of the world. To ask the State of South Carolina to lower a part of their history, black and white fought for this flag for heaven's sake, is tantamount to blackmail. I urge the South Carolina Legislature to tell these uneducated activists to take their travel's elsewhere less threatening to them. We fly the flag of the Catholic Church, a bloody history indeed. And we fly the flags of many battle engagements, lost and won, all bloody , but we fly them to honor those who fought for them. That the NAACP doesn't know or care about American history and the brave men and women who fought on both sides for all the reasons, makes their argument specious, just a little childish and very selfish.

J.M. Stephens

Actually, I am not responding to your web site or newspaper. I want to express my thoughts about the state flag and the boycott. I am a white female with Southern heritage, and I will not be visiting your state until the Confederate representation is removed. South Carolina seceded from the Union and lost. They were rebels and traitors. The Confederacy is dead, and it should be buried in all but lone and silent memory. Any glorification of that attitude besmirches the ideals of toleration and the American Dream.

Debra Thomas, Palmer, AK

Log on; Sound off

Traditional efforts to encourage South Carolina lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the S.C. Statehouse dome aren't working.

So it's time to take the movement online. Take a look at the fastest growing online grassroots effort in the U.S. -- scunited.org, a progressive attempt to get South Carolina to move on and take down the flag. Go to: http://www.scunited.org to send e-mail to legislators, send letters to the editor. And if you're able, you can donate to the cause too.

Thanks for your consideration.
scunited.org, Charleston

I had a wonderful opportunity to live in the south for several years, I saw alot of problems the whites and conservative blacks had to put up with, but I also saw alot of the south that was rich in history, and state pride and love of culture.

That's why I am asking for your support to uphold the southerninitiative.com and those in your state who desire that the Confederate flag remain. True it is a symbol, and its representation can be misused and abused. Just look at the American flag and the Christian cross, both used by the KKK. And the U.S. flag was flown by slaveships, and don't forget 75% of southern white families did not own slaves. We whites are entitled to white pride, and our heritage and history. We do not deserve or will accept the pollution and destruction of our beliefs, our civil right to display and wear what we want and history, by blacks who will not take responsibility for their own actions and expect to be treated without discrimination no matter how they act, or ask for handouts.

Scott Rutter, Central Point OR

On Death Row

I have just finished reading your article "The Other Victims" [Fall 1999]. The article was very well written and every word about Death Row inmates' and families' trials and feelings are so very true.

Michael Moore and Gov. David Beasley's "getting tough on crime" put the system back into the old barbaric days, and the things they took away from those guys on Death Row are unreasonable.

As stated in your article, personal contact visits were taken away, as were tapes, Christmas packages, hobbies. Inmates 22 hours in a 9' X 6' room, exercise only two hours a day outside of cells. They have very little freedom at all. Telephone bills have soared all because of two men: David Beasley and Michael Moore.

I personally know Mrs. Abbott and her son, and I know the feelings of desperation and hopelessness, for I myself have these same feelings. I too have a son on S.C. Death Row. I know how it feels when those huge doors close with all the loudness ringing in my ears each and every week.

My son is there for a crime he did not commit. He's been there for nearly 7 years waiting to prove his innocence due to incapable attorneys appointed by the state. I too had confidence in the justice system until I was faced with its deception and unfair tactics. I'm a lifetime resident of South Carolina and I'm not proud of this state, because it has become a killing state. I never believed in the death penalty, and I still do not believe in killing people, even if it is ordained by the state. God is my refuge and my strength, and He promised me He would never leave nor forsake me, and I still today feel the same as always -- He will never leave me. They say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say turn the other cheek and love your brother.

I too go through depression, outbursts of tears, loneliness and all those things that parents, mothers dads, wives, children and friends who have a loved one on Death Row.

Your article was wonderfully written and I, among the many others that read it, appreciate it. Thanks for listening, and thanks again for your article. May God richly bless you.

A father against the Death Penalty, Upstate SC
P.S. My heart and prayers are with all parents with a family member on Death Row.

Dubya Warning

Since you folks are about vote in a primary in which one of our local politicians is a candidate, (I refer to young Gee Dubya). I thought it only neighborly, if not downright humane, to fill you in on how we go about selecting and electing politicians in these parts.

Back in the 1870's Texans rewrote the state constitution. The writers were of hearty stock, hard working and suspicious of people who had time enough to go to state capitols and make rules and laws for other folks. As a result they wrote into the document two unique things. One, they only allowed the legislature to meet once every two years for about five months. Two, they gave the top job almost no power, that being the governor. This has worked out pretty well over the last century.

With the legal part worked out there remained only one problem, who do you elect and how do you select them to run? Over time, common sense and circumstance provided the solution.

Every town and county has a few folks that simply won't or can't buckle down and tend the cows. They would rather party. They go speeding up and down the roads ninety miles an hour in pink Cadillacs with the tops down, tossing empty beer cans everywhere; whooping, hollering, stirring up dust, and depleting the areas armadillo population in the process. What to do with these folks? The old timers noted that they weren't as bad as horse thieves generally, so hanging was not the answer. Then somewhere along the line one of these knuckleheads got himself elected. Well, it didn't take folks around his old stomping grounds long to notice the general tranquillity that settled in whenever this guy was away making rules and laws. The word got around and now its standard practice all over this great state to send these characters off to the legislature, commissions, or the statehouse.

Unfortunately we've run out of local positions and must export the surplus to folks like yourselves in other parts of the country. The other reason is some of these characters are such a hazard to the whole state that in order to spread the risk of being run over around a bit we hand the guy lots of money and send him out on the national circuit.

I hope this helps in some small way to make your selections.

Top o' the century to y'all,
Monte Phillips, San Leon, TX

Campaign Finance Reform

From both parties, one candidate emerges to lead the way in campaign finance reform through example. Bill Bradley's campaign has raised more than $11.5 million in 1999 and will not accept money from PACs. All financial disclosure reports are posted on the campaign's web site (www.BillBradley.com) immediately upon filing them with the FEC. Bradley was the first to be granted public matching funds by the FEC. Requirements for this include an overall spending limit, restrictions on the use of public funds, and a campaign audit.

A significant improvement of the current campaign financing system was made this year when the FEC also approved a request from Bradley's campaign to qualify credit card donations made over the Internet to be used for matching funds. Meaningful reform, however, is nothing new to Bradley.

As a senator, Bradley's own ideas about tax reform became the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which eliminated billions of dollars worth of special interest loopholes and slashed taxes for millions of Americans. Leading by example is something this country has craved for too long.

Best regards,
Robert Zeglarski, Columbia

Slippery Slope?

In your last issue you ran an excellent story about the policy in South Carolina of using the criminal justice system to punish women who are pregnant and using drugs ["Body Politics," Fall 1999]. The story ends pointing to the possibility that the case will be used to undermine the right to choose to have an abortion and to punish women for a range of behaviors beyond drug use. Unfortunately, we now know those things are actually happening in South Carolina -- and that women are being deterred from health care as a result.

For example, since Whitner (the decision finding that viable fetuses are persons and anything a pregnant woman does to jeopardize her pregnancy can be punished as child abuse):

A pregnant woman in South Carolina has been arrested because she was pregnant and used alcohol.

When a thirteen-year-old girl experienced a stillbirth her parents were arrested. One charge was for unlawful conduct to a child -- because they had allegedly "failed to get proper care for the fetus."

A woman who suffered a miscarriage was arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse. The prosecutor who admitted there was no evidence of drug use nevertheless insisted that the miscarriage was a "crime" that the woman had to take responsibility for.

Since South Carolina has declared that unborn children may be "protected" through the state's criminal laws, some programs have reported a dramatic drop in the number of women seeking drug treatment. In addition, the infant mortality in the state has increased for the first time in a decade, and the state has also seen a 20 percent increase in abandoned babies, suggesting that women fearful of criminal punishment are leaving their babies rather than risk arrest. While we can't be sure the punitive law caused either of these increases, it does raise serious questions about its effect on children and women's health.

Moreover, as the article suggested, the decision is being used in the effort to outlaw abortion. Having won recognition of fetal rights and personhood, the Attorney General made clear that he would use the decision as a basis for limiting abortion. In a written opinion addressing the legality of the so called "partial-birth abortion procedure," he argued that Whitner stood for the broad proposition that "a viable unborn fetus is a 'person' under South Carolina civil and criminal law." Specifically, he took the position that "Whitner must now be construed as part of South Carolina's abortion statutes." He concluded that Whitner, along with the other precedent cited in that case, made a particular form of abortion -- so called partial birth abortion -- murder. The Attorney General publicly announced that he "would prosecute any doctor who performs a 'partial birth' abortion on charges of homicide by child abuse."

The AG went even further. Following a natural progression, his office argued that all post-viability abortions, regardless of the method or reason, could be prosecuted as murder, and that those involved in the procedure could receive the death penalty. Thus, at nearly the same time that Dr. Barnett Slepian was murdered in cold blood by an anti-abortion activist, the S.C. Attorney General's Office was asserting that it had a legal basis for accomplishing the same result.

As a result of this law in South Carolina, women who want to have children are being deterred from prenatal care and drug treatment, and women who want to have a safe, legal abortion are in danger of losing that right. This policy is having a detrimental affect on all of us, and it is time to stand together and oppose South Carolina's unique and destructive law.

Wyndi Marie Anderson, S.C. Advocates for Pregnant Women, Charleston

You go, girl!

You need to have more articles written by Jill Carroll, or Carson Ray. She is a great creative writer and she has a very independent spiritual personality.

I like the whole magazine and web site too. But, actually you need to have a search for the text in the articles and the authors. That would be nice. The bigger it gets, the harder it is to find your way back to a particular articles.

Keep it up!
Thomas J. Jackson Jr., Big Rapids, MI


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