A Moment For Flag Wavering

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges has walked into the crossfire over a 138-year-old battle flag. Last week the South Carolina Baptist Convention and the state chamber of commerce both said the Confederate banner that flew at Bull Run--for many a symbol of the South's slave-owning past and civil-rights defiance--should be removed from the statehouse dome. Perhaps counting on that cover, Hodges called on the NAACP to end a flag-inspired boycott that's prompted 80 groups to cancel conventions and meetings. In return, the Democratic governor said, he'd press the GOP-controlled house of represen-tatives to move the flag to a heritage museum and to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a full-fledged holiday. Hodges's proposal angered both sides. As a prominent Democratic lawyer puts it, "Hodges is getting his a-- kicked." But Hodges's retreat may be temporary: polls and the steady loss of tourist dollars both favor anti-flag forces. Says political scientist Neal Thigpen, "Leadership groups are becoming convinced the flag's just not worth the trouble."

A Moment For Flag Wavering | News