As one of the first Republicans elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, I would like to congratulate state legislators Bill Chumley and Mike Burns for introducing legislation to recognize the long-neglected heroes of our state - black Confederate soldiers. Somehow, since the time I served, and amid the sleazy "pay to play" practices of the Quinn lobbyists, the Republican Establishment in our state has lost its way.
Among that establishment, Nikki Haley has exhibited the grossest behavior. Her cynical, opportunistic manipulation of the Charleston shootings vaunted her to national notoriety. She never grasped that South Carolinians are proud of their heroic past and that it has little to do with slavery. If she were interested in ending slavery today, she should have started in her family's indigenous home, India, where child brides are still bought and sold like cattle.
It is not the courage to erect a monument to heroic black soldiers that divides us; it is the exploitation of blacks by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Nikki Haley that propitiates that. Instead of tearing down our monuments, we should reject this cultural genocide and erect new monuments to our heroes, including black Confederates. Such ideologues could learn from their more popular counterparts; we thank Reps. Chumley and Burns for their courageous efforts to preserve our history.
RICHARD T. HINES