The voice mail was straight and to the point.
“Liberal @#$%^&,” the caller yelled.
No call back number.
That’s what happens when you repeatedly call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds.
Long before nine black people are killed by a racist who identified with that flag.
Long before waffling, weak-kneed compromisers in the media and politics took so long and needed those nine deaths to find their conscience.
If that means I am a liberal, then I accept.
Hundreds of responses, so many saying “liberal” or “socialist” or “communist.” If all those words mean I’m against a symbol of slavery, segregation, hatred and – most importantly – state-sponsored inequality, so be it.
Same thing when challenging Donald Trump for bashing Mexican immigrants as criminals – by actually interviewing Mexican immigrants. Trump was wrong, but he has single-handedly taken hold of the 2016 presidential race through his brashness.
I hope Trump stays in, and if those who want America behind a wall elect him, that’s America. If he wins, Trump is my president – even if he is wrong all the time.
I stick up for York County Muslims, who deserve the same rights as everybody else. That is, without question, a conservative position, despite people slamming me for being a liberal.
Whether you think that makes me a conservative or a liberal, sign me up and pass the free beer.
One time I wrote that the Democratic Party is so weak in York County and South Carolina that the group could fit in a closet, with the door shut. I was mauled by liberals, who seemed to forget they often do not even bother to field candidates for state offices – and when they do, their candidates could rob a bank and not be recognized.
One reader who called recently was so exasperated, he called me a “tea party Democrat.”
“I’m no Democrat,” I said. “That party couldn’t run a two-car funeral.”
The guy claims I am all over the board, and he is right.
I champion Muslims and Mexican immigrants and gay rights and black rights and yes, interviewing real people such as reformed Klan member Johnny Ramsey flying a Confederate battle flag on private property during his fight with the town of Clover about his junky yard.
Ramsey and anyone else has every right to fly whatever flag they want to. It’s a right of free speech I support and fight for – even if seeing the Confederate battle flag itself makes me want to throw up.
I stuck up for Ramsey when the government arrested, tried and jailed him at the age of 79 for keeping too much junk in his yard. That made me a conservative.
Unlike political ideology, freedom is a hard thing to label. I have no political ideology, because all political parties and politicians should be looked at with a healthy dose of cynicism. Some, with disdain.
It is the people who matter.
The poor guy, the broke lady. The gay couple trying to get married so they, too, can fight over who does the laundry like the rest of us. The cop trying to keep us all safe, and the young black guy who doesn’t want to be judged a criminal because of the color of his skin. Even the young guys driving around York County in trucks sporting huge Confederate flags.
Drive on, I say. Show the world your free speech – and your racial view.
Their rights are the same as anybody else’s. At least, they should be.
If I want to be part of the crowd that shouts, “Burn, baby, burn!” if Dylann Roof is found guilty of killing those nine church-goers in Charleston, and that makes me a conservative, OK by me.
The death penalty is state-mandated murder, no question. It is revenge and deters nothing. The wonderful forgiving black families of the victims, whose grace led to that Confederate flag’s coming down, have not asked for any such penalty.
But if we have such penalties, and Roof doesn’t get Old Sparky if convicted, then the death penalty is a joke.
Guess that makes me a liberal, too.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065