Brittany “Bree” Newsome was the toast of Twitter this morning after she scaled the flagpole on the South Carolina State House grounds and pulled down the Confederate flag flying there. Newsome, who along with her accomplice James Tyson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of defacing a monument, became the subject of the popular #FreeBree hashtag.
This afternoon, the NAACP weighed in with a statement commending “the courage and moral impulse of Ms. Newsome as she stands for justice like many NAACP activists including Henry David Thoreau, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous Americans who have engaged in civil disobedience.”
That’s some pretty distinguished company for someone who climbed a pole, but we’d say that the NAACP might be seriously overestimating Newsome’s courage if it really believes, as it begins its press release, that the 30-year-old “climbed the flagpole atop Columbia, South Carolina’s Capitol dome and removed the Confederate Battle Flag.” That would have been an act of ignorance rather than courage, as there’s no Confederate flag up there.
The NAACP also called on prosecutors “to consider the moral inspiration behind the civil disobedience of this young practitioner of democracy.” We’re not sure when joining with a single accomplice to tear down a flag on your own accord became “practicing democracy,” especially seeing as Gov. Nikki Haley had just said she would use her authority to call the state House and Senate back into session if that’s what it took to remove the flag as soon as possible under legislative grounds.