Ben Carson isn’t a fan of abolishing the Confederate flag completely.
The Republican presidential candidate was with seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion Richard Petty at one of Petty’s Victory Junction camps on Monday. Given that he was in the presence of NASCAR greatness he was asked about the Confederate flag, which has been one of the biggest topics of the 2015 NASCAR season.
Discussion about the flag intensified across the country following the shootings at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June. NASCAR asked that its fans refrain from displaying the flag while attending NASCAR events. The request elicited reaction from those who didn’t agree with the request and Confederate flags could still be seen at NASCAR races.
Carson said he felt people should still be able to fly the flag on their private property. NASCAR’s request does not have anything to do with the First Amendment because tracks have the right to decide what is and isn’t permissible on private property.
Carson’s analogy, however, was a bit suspect. From the AP:
Carson told the AP that NASCAR fans should continue flying the flag ”if it’s private property and that’s what they want to do.”
He also acknowledged the flag remains ”a symbol of hate” for many black people and compared it to the Nazi swastika.
”Swastikas are a symbol of hate for some people, too. And yet they still exist in museums and places like that,” Carson said, describing the decision about flying the flag ”a local issue.” ”If it’s a majority of people in that area who want it to fly, I certainly wouldn’t take it down.”
Museums are, of course, a place where we remember and re-live history. And, quite frankly, that’s where a lot of people want the Confederate flag to be. By bringing up museums, Carson indirectly referenced the argument that many people have made in supporting the abolition of the Confederate flag.
The flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol after the shootings. A majority of South Carolina residents supported the flag’s presence at the capitol grounds a year before the shootings; there was an explicit shift in public perception after the alleged hate crime.
Carson, who is one of the frontrunners for his party’s nomination in 2016, got the support of Petty at the event.
‘We’re hoping he’s endorsing the camp, we’re not necessarily endorsing him, but we are – you know what I mean?” Petty, in his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses, said in a brief interview with the Associated Press. He later posed for pictures aboard Carson’s campaign bus.
”He’s very humane,” Petty said when asked what he liked about Carson. ”That’s one of his strong points as far as we’re concerned.”
The first primary isn’t until February.
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