Letters to the Editor – July 1, 2015

Hartsville Oil Mill responds to “The Ditch”

We at the oil mill feel “The Ditch” article in your June 10 issue got it wrong in some respects.

The oil mill does not discharge waste into “The Ditch”. We have a DHEC approved state of the art water treatment plant that handles all our process water for proper discharge elsewhere. Some rain water from our 10 acre partly forested lot goes into “The Ditch” during storms.

The area of “The Ditch” near Miss Jett’s house is upstream from the oil mill and joins the separate ditch from the oil mill into another ditch going to snake branch.

The Hartsville Oil Mill was started in 1900 by my grandfather. We bought the Darlington plant in 1970, moved our main office here in 1977 and have been happy here since. We provide good jobs with benefits and markets for cottonseed and products.

The oil mill will be happy to assist in a City project to clean and level “The Ditch” so it may flow again without backing up.

Sincerely yours,
Edgar H. Lawton Jr.,
Board of Directors
Hartsville Oil Mill
Darlington, S.C.

Editor’s Note:
Letters to the Editor don’t reflect the opinions of the News and Press. We welcome all letters and hope this part of the newspaper may remain open and civil forum for debate.
Letters containing overtly malicious comments or personal attacks on your fellow citizens will not be printed.

Flag issue

In the days following the senseless massacre of nine innocent South Carolinians during Bible study and worship, I congratulated all of our citizens for setting the example for the rest of the United States of America who have or may experience similar actions. As expected, but with regret, there were some individuals and organizations who could not pass up the opportunity to turn a day of remembrance and call for peace into a platform to continue hate, division bigotry.

One such organization was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This organization has done more to help “their people” (as they call them) than perhaps any in history. However, those days are gone. This organization has become the worst enemy of “their people.” Today’s NAACP is doing more to hurt “their people” and divide this country than any organization in the country. They operate on keeping the fear and racist cards up front and center of everything they do. They use this fear and hate to control, or enslave, “their own people” emotionally, financially and psychologically. It appears they want to keep their people down, impoverished and uneducated so they can continue their reign of terror, blackmail and hypocrisy.

The NAACP has a long running boycott against just about everything going on in South Carolina. They are asking all their members across the country to continue their boycott on South Carolina when taking vacations. They hurt the economy and take jobs away from all who could earning much needed salaries in the pressure on the NCAA not to hold any tournaments, championship playoffs or games in the State. They are asking businesses nationwide to stay out of South Carolina. They are convincing conventioneers to go to other states. Why? Because our State continues to honor those who fought, sacrificed and died for a cause they felt just.

There were many causes of the civil war, including differences between Northern and Southern states on the idea as trade, tariffs, states’ rights as well as slavery. Men and women of both sexes and color (black and white) were lost in support of South Carolina’s cause. They all suffered for our State.
What people don’t realize is a much larger flag was flying on top of the State Capitol Building about a decade ago. The State gave into pressure to remove it from the Capitol Building and place it at the memorial. (I think that was the right thing to do). The NAACP now says “The flag is off the building and right in our face.”

The flag is off The State Capitol building beside the memorial of lost South Carolinians. It is the battle flag and a tribute our history, our ancestors.
There is not as much hate and fear in this State/Country as some would have you believe. This past week proves this statement. Maybe, just maybe, if the NAACP, other organizations like them, and the racist radicals (of all color and ethnicity) who keep this so called hate alive would shut up and go away, there would be no “my people” or “your people.” Just maybe, we all would be “the people of South Carolina and the United States of America.”
Patriotism is believing and living as “one people, under God with liberty and justice for all.”

Bill Pickle
Florence, S.C.

The battle flag isn’t the history we should celebrate

Disclosure: I’m an employee of the News and Press. I normally don’t like newspaper employees writing letters to the editor but I felt that the flag debate was too important not to share some information that I believe hasn’t been addressed.

First, for the record, my family has lived in South Carolina since it was a colony. We were Patriots who fought in the Revolution. If you love America, then kiss a Childers.

Missing from this debate is the understanding that there is a difference between displaying a flag and flying a flag. It may seem trivial to make this distinction but it really is important. When one displays a flag (on a wall or in a case) for educational or historical purposes, then it is just that, an educational or historical reference. There is no support or belief tied to it. It is a statement of facts.

When one flies a flag, then a statement is being made. The person or group flying the flag is giving everyone else specific information about them. It may mean that the ship is American, it may identify a battalion, or it may represent a set of socio-political beliefs (like the anarchist’s flag or the gay pride flag.)

When a government flies a flag on the statehouse grounds, it means that the government (state or nation) endorses the beliefs and history the flag represents. By flying it on government grounds, the government is announcing to everyone that it supports all that the flag represents.

The flag that flies on the statehouse grounds is not the flag of the Confederate States of America (CSA). (If the CSA flag was flying over the statehouse grounds, then one could make a legitimate argument about acknowledging history).

The battle flag used by Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia is the one that we see on the statehouse grounds today. It’s the flag that flew over the statehouse beginning in 1962, and the one that was moved to the grounds in 2000. It is the flag used by the KKK, the Dixiecrats, and the segregationists during the Civil Rights struggle. White supremacist groups all over the world use the battle flag to this day. They use it instead of the Nazi flag where the Nazi flag is illegal. Flying that battle flag has a very specific meaning – and it is not that we are all fans of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

No matter what any one individual believes, the battle flag can’t be separated from the white supremacists and segregationists. More than 3,900 American citizens were lynched and hundreds of thousands more were terrorized, denied equal treatment and generally treated as subhuman in the hundred years after the Civil War leading up to the civil rights movement.

Since the civil rights movement many things have changed for the better. Some people have, correctly, pointed out that flying the flag of segregationists on public property is a constant reminder that blacks are still considered to be second-class citizens. It’s hard to argue against that. I only have the vaguest idea of what it must be like to live in fear; to know that people around you actively want you gone or at least on the other side of town. I haven’t been denied a home loan or an apartment. I’ve never been harassed by the police. When my friends tell me about their pain then I must accept it to be true without any qualifications.

Some people have suggested that we shouldn’t politicize tragedy or protest too much or boycott. This is complete nonsense. This is exactly the time to act and we should use all the tools available to us to spur action. Protests, petitions, boycotts and civil disobedience have been the tools of dissent forever. Would we say that the Boston Tea Party happened too soon after an onerous tax was placed on the colonies? Would we tell George Washington to wait for a few months after British troops killed American Patriots? I don’t think so.

Let’s put this part of our history to rest. Let’s get rid of the battle flag. If you want to put the real flag of the Confederate States of America in every museum in South Carolina then, by all means, do that. We should never forget our history. Together let’s celebrate the parts of our heritage that truly make us great and different from the rest of the country. We gave the world BBQ, the Shag, Gospel music, Jazz, Beach music, the Blues, great Southern literature, Bluegrass, the Texas Two Step, Line Dancing, Atlanta Rap, the Mint Julep and hundreds of other things. The South gave birth to great engineers, authors, musicians, politicians and more. The war is 150 years gone. Let’s make the next 150 years better for everyone in all ways.

Duane Childers
Hartsville, S. C.

Author: Duane Childers

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