The battle standard still has its staunch defenders in Central. At the Walmart on Calhoun Memorial Highway, Confederate memorabilia had already been cleared from the shelves on Friday, but the flag shone from the front license-plate holder of a Chevy pickup in the parking lot. The truck’s owner, Rita Haney, 28, said she wasn’t bowing to the flag’s opponents. She’s planning to fly a big one in her front yard, “just to piss them the f—- off.”
She expressed dismay that the group now includes her state’s senior senator. “My dad loved Lindsey Graham,” Haney said. “He would roll over in his grave.”
There were others in the diners and under the shade trees in and around the town whose support Graham has lost in the past week. “He went from being all right to a coward,” said Stanley, a 60-year-old logger wearing a National Tractor Pullers Association hat in a booth at Paw’s Diner in nearby Seneca, where Graham now lives.
At Margaret’s, another diner on another highway 10 miles away, 71-year-old waitress Betty Smith sat in another booth, breaking from work to chat with friend Betty Whitmire. She said she was so disgusted with the state’s leaders that she would stop voting, and that she couldn’t abide Graham’s change of course. “I don’t care what they do with the flag, but when you stand up and lie like that …,” she said.