McConnell is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Secession Camp #4. The Sons of Confederate Veterans were charged in 1906 by Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander General of the United Confederate Veterans, with "the vindication of the cause for which we fought." That “cause” is not spelled out.
Despite the fact that many see his activities as racist, McConnell takes the confederacy very seriously. He owns CSA Galleries, a confederate “department store” next door to the Confederate Creamery and Coffee Company in Charleston, S.C. He has been featured as a guest on The Political Cesspool, a radio show that also promotes the Confederacy.
McConnell, one of the most powerful politicians in South Carolina, argues that he sees no racism connected with his activities. “I see honor, courage, valor. I see the red, white and blue and the blood of sacrifice that ran through that battle and the people that carried that flag. I don't see black and white. I don't see racism,” he said on ABC’s Nightline on July 26, 1999.
That’s the way it works in South Carolina. In 2000, when the Confederate flag was brought down from atop the dome of the South Carolina State House, McConnell successfully advocated flying another Confederate flag from a flagpole in the front of the Statehouse, on the grounds, near the Confederate Soldier Monument.
He rejected the suggestion that the Confederate flag be placed in a glass case by saying, “encasement represents entombment," and by noting that he wanted "no part in symbolically burying the Confederate banner." The resulting bill that was passed in 2000 was steep a compromise that was perhaps worse than the original flag.
McConnell vigorously fights any attempts to take down the currently-flying Confederate flag, and he declares such efforts as having the goal of carrying out a "cultural genocide."
The black residents who have to walk past this flag every day vigorously disagree with McConnell’s arguments. One of them is state senator Robert Ford. During a November 21, 1999 television interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Ford reminded flag opponents that they weren't going to resolve the issue with a barrel over the heads of the "white men" in the state.
"These white men in South Carolina in 1861 started a civil war that lasted five years without a navy, army, air force or marine, because somebody was trying to tell them what to do… This is not Arizona. This is South Carolina—[home of] the meanest, toughest white men on the planet."
Glenn McConnell is one of those men. It’s still another example of the hard-headed prejudice that continues to drive the dark side of the South. It’s why the issue is so intractable.