Fresh off her PR victory of calling for the end of Confederate history, this weekend South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of cotton balls from the her state citing the long history of racism the product represents.
“Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill will to say it is time to remove cotton balls from our state,” said the Republican Governor, the state’s first non-white governor, while flanked by a diverse group of South Carolina politicians.
“These balls, while an integral part of our past, do not represent the future of our great state,” Haley said. “We need to eliminate not just cotton balls, but all cotton products from our good state because of the racist history cotton has to a tiny, activist portion of our citizenry.”
Proponents said that lifting cotton balls from store shelves reminds African Americans too much of “pickin’ cotton,” and the constant reminder of tags in clothing that tell buyers that an item is made of cotton is racist.
The products can only be removed from its store shelves and people’s homes with the approval of two-thirds of the legislature, or legislation written from the bench by any compliant federal judge. And Haley said if the state’s General Assembly doesn’t convene on the matter in this last week of the legislative year, she would call up lawmakers to the capital “under extraordinary measures.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina were also alongside Haley at the announcement that came amid growing calls for the state to remove all uncomfortable American history from the State.
The two senators did not speak at the announcement, though sources earlier in the day said the pair would endorse whatever decision they thought made them look good on TV.
Graham said in a written statement after the news conference that “after the tragic, hate-filled shooting in Charleston, it is only appropriate that we deal once and for all with the necessary whitewashing of American history.”
“In the worst of tragedies, we have seen the best of South Carolina. Today, I am urging that all American history be removed from South Carolina,” Graham said the statement. “I hope that, by removing this racist history, we can take another step towards healing and recognition–and a sign that South Carolina is moving forward into a blank new future.”
The shift from the state’s top elected officials marks a momentous milestone in a decades-old debate that was reignited and quickly gained momentum in the wake of the deadly, racially motivated shooting that killed nine African-Americans last week. Quite despite that the killer had nothing to do with cotton or American history, opportunists have used the incident to settle old scores.
Less than a week after the shooting, calls for the Confederate flag to be taken down and all mentions of history be forgotten have quickly snowballed from local officials and civil rights activists to the upper echelons of South Carolina and national politics.
“We cannot have cotton or history or anything reminding us of our victorious acquisition of equal rights, or any such reminder of history waving on the grounds of the state capitol or anywhere else,” NAACP president and South Carolina native Cornell William Brooks said Friday during a press conference. “Anything we don’t like needs to come down. All those symbols must be removed from our state or else we might just see Ferguson and Baltimore from coast to coast.”
Those who disagree with any of these moves were quickly shouted down in the pandering legislature as well as on TV and in the media.
As of Friday, the National Park Service also jumped on the bandwagon and decreed that all mentions of the Confederacy be expunged from our parks including the nation’s Civil War battlefields.
The Park Service has kicked off a contest asking kids across the nation to come up with a new name for the Civil War’s two sides. The leading entry thus far is to say the war was “The North versus that symbol that Prince used to call himself.” The second most vote getter is “The North versus those scumbag, racist, assholes that we still today wish weren’t part of the United States.”
President Obama praised the moves on Friday saying that if things don’t move fast enough, he’s “got a pen.”