J2100 Community Issue Story

From July 9, 2015

Ron Davis

Community Issue Story

860 Words

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

 

A badge of Southern pride after the Civil War and a symbol against the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century, the Confederate flag has never been raised without controversy. The recent shooting tragedy at a church in Charleston, South Carolina on has brought the discussion back to main-line media while the nation attempts to figure out how a country with a racist past can remain true to its history while fulfilling the needs of a changing demographic.

“While I believe in the right to freedom of speech, I do not believe government officials or public institutions should fly confederate flags or any other artifact that symbolizes oppression,” said Evan Chiarelli, President of the College Democrats in a phone interview. “We have essentially in our own backyard a state representative supporting the Confederate flag.”

Chiarelli is referring to Republican state Rep. Chuck Basye of Rocheport for Basye attending a ceremony on June 20 to honor a few Confederate soldiers who died in a battle near his home on May 24, 1865.The ceremony featured a re-enactment of the battle that took place on a farm that was owned by Basye’s great-great grandfather, Michael Mauzy Basye, who served on the Union side during the Civil War. What’s put Basye in hot water is it’s alleged he saluted or made a gesture towards the Confederate flag, which he vehemently denies.                          

“I did not honor, salute, participate, or support the Confederate flag. End of story and that is all to it,” said Basye. “[a]fter I talked to a couple of people I learned that it all it’s not a hand gesture, not a movement of the body, all it is just a 10 second pledge to the Confederate flag. I did not participate in that.”                                                                                                                            

The representative from District 47 wanted to make it clear that he does not support reasons for what he deems inappropriate the Confederate flag represents, such as racism and support for slavery. He doesn’t own one, but respects the fact that it’s a piece of history, and shouldn’t be shoved aside and forgotten about.                                                                                                          

“I do not support the Confederate flag (for the inappropriate reasons), I never have, I’ve never owned one, I don’t intend to own one. Having said that this is history and whether you like it or not it can’t be changed. It’s a symbol of history and it’s used in an incorrect manner by many people, but it is a historical symbol that is part of our history as a nation.” continued Basye. “Nobody, especially a fellow representative is going to tell me what I can and can’t do on my own free time. That pretty much sums it up.”                                                                                          

Basye’s father C. Ben also weighed in and defended his son as well as the ceremony that took place.                                                                                                                                                                 

“(Chuck) had nothing to do with the tombstone. If anyone wants to blame Chuck for this then they ought to take a look in the mirror,” said C. Ben Basye. “If they’re offended by what Chuck did then they’re looking for something to get offended by.”                                                                  

C. Ben Basye went on to say that he understands the depth of feeling of those who oppose the flag, but insists that this ceremony was to honor the men buried on his family’s land. He said that before the tragedy in South Carolina there was a lot of support for ceremonies like these.      

Even though Chuck Basye insists that he did not salute or glorify the flag, that doesn’t sit with Chiarelli and he continues to seek an apology from the representative.                                                

“While Basye claims he didn’t salute the flag, he did say that he saw nothing wrong with pledging allegiance to the flag, which we feel is wrong,” said Chiarelli in an email Thursday. “We continue to urge Basye to apologize to the black community for his misguided and disrespectful actions.”                                                                                                                                                                

The country’s attitude as a whole has changed since the June 17 shooting in Charleston, so says Sam Fulwood, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C.                                                           

“I have been amazed at which public opinion has changed these past three weeks. What’s amazing is that white Southerns have changed their minds as well,” said Fulwood in a phone interview Friday. “Because of the South Carolina shooting, the general population has viewed it as ‘racist’, when before it was mostly black folks who felt that way.”                                                                                                                               

When asked about South Carolina’s ruling to remove the flag from the state capitol, Fulwood thinks it’s a start, but there’s a bigger issue at hand.                                                                                                                                                

“It’s a good thing, I’m happy to see it taken down. But the flag is just a symbol. I don’t know if taking it down means you’re going to change what’s in people’s hearts.”                                                                                                

As far as the argument for keeping and remembering the flag as a part of history, Fulwood agrees its history but people who are defending it as Southern pride are remembering it for the wrong reasons.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

“A lack of understanding is what it really is,” said Fulwood. “The flag is a banner of treason, and that’s what it really means. Anyone who takes pride in treason is misguided.”                                                                        

Story Slug: Exploring the Confederate Flag Deeper

Reporter: Ron Davis

Date interviewed: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Phone Interview

How was source used in story? Quoted

Source name with correct spelling: Evan Chiarelli

What is the title of your source? President of the College Democrats of Missouri

How does source want to be identified? President of the College Democrats of Missouri

Phone numbers of source: Cell: (682) 888-8410

Place of employment: The Mizzou Store

Address: 222 Elliott Drive

Columbia, Mo

65201

E-mail: eccybf@mail.missouri.edu

 

Story Slug: Exploring the Confederate Flag Deeper

Reporter: Ron Davis

Date interviewed: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Phone Interview

How was source used in story? Quoted and background

Source name with correct spelling: Chuck Basye

What is the title of your source? Representative Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport)

How does source want to be identified? Representative for District 47

Phone numbers of source: Cell: (573)-356-3405 Home (573)-698-2906

Place of employment: Missouri State Capitol

Address: 15000 W. Hwy 30

Rocheport, Mo

65279

E-mail: cbasyefarms@gmail.com

Reporter: Ron Davis

Date interviewed: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Phone Interview

How was source used in story? Quoted

Source name with correct spelling: C.Ben Basye

What is the title of your source? Retired Captain of the Naval Reserve

How does source want to be identified? Ben Basye

Phone numbers of source: Cell: (573)-234-1107

Place of employment: Retired

Address: 3812 Ivanhoe Blvd.

Columbia, Mo

65203

E-mail: cbenb1@aol.com

 

Reporter: Ron Davis

Date interviewed: Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Phone Interview

How was source used in story? Quoted

Source name with correct spelling: Sam Fulwood

What is the title of your source? Senior Fellow for the Center for American Progress

How does source want to be identified? Senior Fellow

Phone numbers of source: Cell: (202)-481-8248

Place of employment: Center for American Progress

Address: 1333 H. Street Northwest

Washington D.C.

20005

E-mail: sfulwood@americanprogressc.org

 

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