- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

The NCAA is being asked to excommunicate Georgia from the 50-state union.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led by Martin Luther King III, does not exactly put it this way.

King's group is urging the NCAA to move the 2002 and 2007 men's Final Four and the 2003 women's Final Four out of Georgia if the Confederate symbol is not removed from the state flag by March 31, 2001.

This is becoming a habit with the ever-sensitive groups that mine the rich veins of race in America.

The NAACP, as sensitive as groups come, nearly fainted at the sight of the Confederate flag atop the capital dome in Columbia, S.C., and exhorted everyone to ignore the state until lawmakers moved the flag.

In recognition of the NAACP's mental pain, if not the drain on state coffers, South Carolina's lawmakers lowered the flag to ground level and declared victory.

The ground can't cause a fumble in the NFL, but the ground can torment the NAACP in surprising ways. The newly placed Confederate flag in Columbia is lit all night, and the NAACP, unhappy with the new conditions, is renewing its call for all sensible Americans, Tiger Woods included, to maintain their boycott of South Carolina.

That makes it tough on the innocents who live in South Carolina, but sometimes, with grave issues at stake, the little people, blacks, whites and all the rest, must suffer for the greater good.

Hell, no, we won't go to South Carolina.

Mr. Governor, tear down that flag.

By the way, this lowers the Lower 48 to 46, if you count the pariah status being imposed on Georgia.

China gets treated better by America than South Carolina and Georgia, perhaps because China only steals America's nuclear secrets, jails dissidents and sometimes threatens to give Taiwan a lunar-like landscape.

China, to its credit, does not fly the Confederate flag or incorporate its symbols into its national flag, and being sensitive is not necessarily prudent around a marketplace with 1.4 billion potential consumers.

Green trumps all colors in America, as the sensitive know only too well. Being sensitive pays the bills, as long as the target is relatively convenient and the charitable minded believe in feel-good feebleness.

It would not be convenient to urge America to boycott Delta's hub in Atlanta, if only because that's a lot of air traffic and most travelers probably couldn't describe Georgia's flag if you made it a condition of their entry.

The NCAA is an easy target, and really, Georgia and South Carolina are beside the point. The NCAA practices a form of indentured servitude that recalls what is now America's inglorious past, symbolized by Columbus, the oppressor of all oppressors who at least has the good manners to be dead.

The NCAA is rarely challenged, largely because the bowl games and March are fun and a free education is something, even if an academic adviser is writing the term papers of the athletes and the new economy is turning the old get-ahead rules upside down.

To be fair, holding athletes to minimal academic standards is no longer important, given their sometimes racist application and failure to keep hope alive.

The NAACP is looking to the NCAA not to hold its men's basketball first- and second-round games in Greenville in 2002 unless state lawmakers turn off the lights around the Confederate flag or attempt to move the flag again, preferably with the most sensitive representative of the NAACP in attendance to measure the sensitivity of the alternative sites.

As South Carolina has discovered, not all alternative sites are equally sensitive. The NAACP may not be bawling, only sniffling, but the new site still hurts.

Sticking the flag in the middle of the woods might work, although you never know with the sensitive, considering they are paid by the teardrop.

Americans are free to be as sensitive as they want to be, of course, and at this pace, the Confederacy eventually may get what it sought in 1861, and not a drop of blood will have to be shed, only tears.

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