South Carolina to debate removal of Confederate flag

Charleston’s The Post and Courier reports that the South Carolina legislature on Tuesday has agreed to debate the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol. South Carolina lawmakers agree to discuss removing Confederate battle flag:

Screenshot from 2015-06-22 15:32:35The S.C. Legislature agreed Tuesday to consider taking down the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds where it has flown as part of a Civil War memorial for the past 15 years.

The House voted 103-10 while the Senate approved by voice vote broadening the subjects that can be taken up during the current special session.

Soon after the Senate voted, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, introduced a bill calling for moving the flag from Statehouse grounds to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia. Debate on it could begin as early as next Tuesday when lawmakers are called back into session.

Across the hall, House members also filed two bills that called for the removal of the battle flag, but debate will be delayed while they go through committees.

A two-thirds majority was needed to allow discussion, and the same margin will be needed in both the House and Senate to change the flag’s location.

[Or a simple majority vote could repeal that 2000 law rather than vote to change the flag’s location.]

The vote came after hundreds of people rallied outside the Capitol chanting “Bring it down, bring it down” to demand that lawmakers remove the flag from the Civil War soldiers memorial on Statehouse grounds.

In the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a bipartisan mix of officials across Southern states are calling for the removal of Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy. A look at calls to remove Confederate symbols across South.

State Sen. Paul Thurmond on Tuesday became one of the first lawmakers to officially call for removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, denouncing a past that his father, segregationist Dixiecrat Senator Strom Thurmond, was identified with most of his life. Strom Thurmond’s son Paul calls for Confederate flag to come down.

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce joined others Monday in calling for removal of the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds through a swift solution. Charleston chamber of commerce calls for Confederate flag’s removal.

Wal-Mart announced on Monday that it was taking steps to remove all Confederate flag merchandise from its stores and their online marketplace. Wal-Mart was quickly joined by other national retailers. National retailers to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise: “By midday Tuesday, eBay, Etsy, Target, Spencer Gifts and Sears Holding Corp. also had announced they no longer would sell merchandise featuring the Confederate flag, which eBay called a “contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.”” An Amazon spokesman announced that the company, too, would pull the merchandise and halt all sales.

The Valley Forge Flag Co., based in Wyomissing, Pa., has chosen to cease manufacturing the flag, too, not wishing “to do anything that causes pain or disunity for people.”

NASCAR wants the Confederate flag gone from Darlington Speedway. NASCAR, Darlington Raceway parent company back removal of Confederate flag:

“NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday,” the statement said. “As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. While NASCAR acknowledges that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events.”

The statement also said, “As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation’s embrace of those impacted.”

As far as the University of South Carolina is concerned, the flag can’t come down soon enough. Gamecocks, Clemson agree: Time for Confederate flag to come down.

The Post and Courier editorialized Editorial: Time to furl the Confederate flag:

The Confederate flag was raised over the Statehouse dome in 1962 to mark the centennial of the Civil War. It flew there for nearly 40 years before being relocated to a nearby Confederate memorial as part of a hard-fought legislative compromise.

But it’s clear that the compromise hasn’t succeeded, recognizing what the flag symbolizes for many South Carolinians. It’s time for the Legislature to furl the flag in the spirit of good will and reconciliation.

Such an act would be in the spirit of the original compromise, which was approved by lawmakers of good will, black and white, to remove the flag from a position of sovereignty and place it at what was viewed as an appropriate place on the Statehouse grounds.

But there is no appropriate place for the flag at the Statehouse — not in the aftermath of Wednesday’s tragic murder of nine people in Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street.

* * *

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Confederate flag needs to be removed from the Statehouse grounds.

On Monday, Gov. Nikki Haley gave her support to furling the flag. “We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer,” she said. A growing number of legislative leaders support the idea.

The Legislature has the opportunity to remove the flag before the end of this month’s extended session. It can revise the terms of the session, and vote to bring the flag down.

Do it to honor the nine people who were killed at Emanuel AME Church.

Do it now.

The renewal of the Civil War that Dylann Roof hoped to spark with his heinous act has had the exact opposite effect. The state of South Carolina now appears ready to consign its insurrectionist past and the flag of treason to history, 150 years after the end of the Civil War.

One response to “South Carolina to debate removal of Confederate flag

  1. Having briefly worked in a Southern Town in the early seventies I quickly found out that the double standard of “for whites” and “not for blacks” had to be taken into consideration in action and speech. One of the shop owners where I worked used the “N” word as a routine item and restaurants and shops used black americans for menial tasks while white staff was usually given the managerial duties. Older gas stations still had the segregated bathrooms and while they were no longer in use, they also still stood there with their ugly signs. So now it is another century and we suddenly “discover” that many signs that imply racial hatred and segregation still exist-the statue of the southern soldier, the “need to preserve history” and other nonsense. But we are looking too far away from our own symbols. We don’t need to look at South Carolina, or Mississippi, or other Southern States. We need to look at ARIZONA and we can find the same silly statutes and “monuments.” Some of them are on state property in Wesley Bolen Park , right by our State Capitol. If we are really into fighting segregation and racism, let us remove this garbage, just like the people in South Carolina are now doing.