Truth won’t let hate win

June 24th, 2015

With a calm, clear voice, Alana Simmons made a simple declaration two days after her grandfather Daniel Simmons and eight other souls were slaughtered in the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church by Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Hate won’t win,” she said to those in court for the alleged killer’s bond hearing.

I admired her class and courage, but I was perplexed by the hopefulness of her proclamation. Hate killed her grandfather and the other church members. Hate broke the hearts of family members, friends and colleagues. Hate devastated a city, state and nation.

Hate has a history of winning. It has instigated genocides, tribal wars, holocausts, slave trades, lynchings, rapes — all tools of hate’s trade.

Laws and court rulings haven’t stopped hate. Charismatic leaders haven’t either. In fact, hate has killed more than a few of them, too.

A lot has happened since Alana Simmons made her proclamation. And I now believe she knew something that I didn’t. 

Less than one week after the massacre at Emmanuel, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the capitol grounds. When she made her announcement, she was surrounded by other Republicans — some of whom once had been content with its glorification, as she had been.

Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers have decided they will no longer carry products with the image of the Confederate flag. Companies that manufacture the flag say they will stop making it.

Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, a Republican, has called for the Confederate imagery in his state flag to be removed. Virginia will stop issuing the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. Georgia may also re-design a Confederate-themed license plate.

The Charleston massacre stunned the nation out of its stupor about the Confederacy. It’s long past time. Truth was gathering dust in the history books.

“The Negro is not equal to the white man,” said Alexander Stephens, vice-president of the Confederacy. “Slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

People can try to defend Confederate symbols by talking about heritage. But they need to understand that means accepting Stephens’ bigotry, for it is inextricably linked to the rebel government that lost.

Maybe that’s what Alana Simmons really meant. No matter how things looked or felt in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre, hate ultimately will lose — just as a government built by hate lost once before.

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