Suddenly the Confederate flag has become a bad thing, maybe, or at least a “controversial” one. Just one week ago, it was all about “Heritage Not Hate,” but as of Monday afternoon, it’s officially Problematic, because somebody just discovered that — are you sitting down? — some people have adopted it to promote hatred. Astonishing! South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley learned that it was seen that way, and called for the flag to be removed from the state capitol, even though it was just fine last fall. And now, America’s greatest arbiter of taste, Walmart, has announced that it is shocked, shocked! to learn it has been selling items with the Confederate flag on them, and by golly, it’s going to stop selling them.
Walmart issued a statement that would sound a lot more convincing being read by Claude Rains:
We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site. We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances.
Your winnings, sir.
Sears, which also owns Kmart, followed suit because where on earth did all this controversial (but beloved by many) merchandise come from? Oh, China, duh. Why are the Chinese so insensitive? CNN asked Amazon and eBay if they would be removing Confederate flag merch, but neither “company responded to repeated requests for comment.” Probably because they don’t actually have any physical locations to picket.
Gizmodo notes that Walmart has been busy scrubbing its website of Confederate items, although the URLs still exist for such classy items as the “Country Girl” belt buckle; we also found a link for a similar item from the same manufacturer, though there’s no longer an option to purchase it.
We also found a link to the whimsical “Redneck Firefighter” tee — “Show both your Firefighting pride and sense of humor with this funny T-shirt” — an hour before press time, but it was gone when we went back for another look.
It’s awfully encouraging to see all these folks noticing for the first time that the Confederate flag is somehow seen, by some, as something other than a mere reminder of the rich heritage of the South. It’s just so sad that bad people have “misappropriated” it for less than noble purposes. Who knows, give them another 150 years, and they may even concede that slavery had something to do with the causes of the Civil War.