Confederate Flag Scheduled To Come Down at 9:45 This Morning

Congress remains divided after a last-ditch effort by the Republican Party to keep the flag.

Following the South Carolina Senate’s quick decision to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, and the state’s House of Representatives’ overwhelming 94-20 vote, the bill was signed into law late Thursday by Gov. Nikki Haley. The state now has 24 hours to remove the flag.

Thursday’s debate in the run up to the House vote became emotional, particularly for Republican Rep. Jenny Horne, who, as a descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, provided personal insight.

“I’m sorry, I have heard enough about heritage,” she said, urging the House to “Remove this flag and do it today. Because this issue is not getting any better with age.”

The issue was initially acknowledged by Haley, who called for the flag’s removal after the Charleston massacre that left nine innocent churchgoers dead at the hands of Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who was frequently photographed with the Confederate flag.

After the vote, Horne expressed relief but could not forget the tragedy that brought the state to this point.

“It’s bittersweet, because it took a tragedy to bring this body to this decision,” she said, adding, “I am so proud to be a South Carolinian and proud of what South Carolina has done to move this state forward.”

Haley signed the bill finalizing the flag’s removal in South Carolina, but it appears the battle to remove it from federal land is not over just yet.

Congress is currently dealing with a back-and-forth between the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to whether the flag can fly on certain U.S.-owned land and whether flag-based merchandise can be sold at souvenir shops located on government land.

House Democrats proposed two amendments to add to the annual spending bill: one prohibiting the flag from flying at federal cemeteries; the other prohibiting National Park Services gift shops from selling flag merchandise. Both were approved in a vote.

But on Wednesday, the Republicans proposed an amendment of their own to the Interior-Environment Appropriations bill. This amendment would allow, in some instances, the flag to fly in National Park Service cemeteries. The GOP alleged that the proposal simply followed in line with already existing Obama administration directives, one of which states that park workers are to restrict Confederate flag displays and merchandise — but not remove — and another that also allows the flag to be flown on “certain state-designated Confederate Memorial Days.”

Democratic Representatives were less than impressed by the measure, which New York Rep. Steve Israel called a “late-night, backdoor strategy.”

Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, also found the move apprehensible:

Tonight, after nearly 20 hours of debate on the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act and approval of three amendments banning sale and display of the Confederate flag in national parks and cemeteries administered by the National Park Service, the Republican majority introduced an amendment reversing course … The [Rep. Ken] Calvert amendment would shamefully challenge the emerging national consensus that government must not countenance such a symbol of hatred and intolerance.

Democrats emphasized that the allowance of these amendments does nothing but “undo progress,” as Rep. Israel described it, which has already taken so long to achieve.

Ultimately, the Republicans pulled the bill entirely. Republican Ohio Rep. and Speaker John A. Boehner, who clarified that he personally supports the removal of the flag from federal lands, said “That bill is going to sit in abeyance until we come to some resolution.”

Acknowledging his own opposition of the amendments, he said the “adult” Congressmen had to have a conversation about the bill.

“I do not want this to become some political football,” Boehner said. “It should not.”

But for South Carolina, the “political football” is over. After the vote, Gov. Haley said: “It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.”

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  • Isn’t placing the Confederate flag on a grave in a cemetery, even a federal cemetery, a matter of Freedom of Speech? Lets not forget the First Amendment, placed first for a reason.

    • The first amendment does not include yelling “fire” in a crowded auditorium.

      Roughly 650,000 men died in combat during the Civil War, proportional to 3,500,000 deaths in today’s population. There were more Union deaths than Confederate deaths. The Confederates lost the war. In my opinion, it would be completely inappropriate to put that flag on a grave in a federal cemetery. I say that as a person who will end up being buried in one. I’m not being facetious here – if you happen to have a Confederate soldier buried in a private cemetery for Confederate casualties and veterans, it might be appropriate there.

      But, let us not forget that flag is a symbol of white supremacy. There are many reasons the state of South Carolina decided to haul down that flag, most of them, I’m quite sure, are related to business that would’ve been lost, not a sudden surge of empathy or respect for the roughly 40% of Southerners who are Black descendents of enslaved people, and for whom that flag does not represent Pride or Culture – for them it represents unjust imprisonment, death, lynching, starvation, enslavement, belittling, racism, oppression, white supremacy and most recently, nine people being shot to death at church.

      Much more serious than yelling “fire” in a crowded auditorium, but the same principle.

  • Yes, that flag represents hatred and intolerance for many, but have people thought about the divisiveness that it stands for too? It stood for the secession of the South as a separate “country”, yet it is lauded as a symbol of southern “heritage”. Why would anyone want to emulate something that represents the division of this country, not to mention the justification it gave for people to own other human beings? To remove the flag is not to forget those who fought in the civil war, but to move past that time and live in a united country that is inclusive of all.

    • For some white Southerners, the Confederate flag simply stands for the abstract quality of “rebelness” which they believe only they possess in its pure form. “Rebelness”, in actuality, means a disdain for certain minor aspects of the law and the embrace of various other possibly self-destructive excesses. In sum, a petulant disdain for middle class authority expressed in the form of cutting loose on Friday and Saturday night. The Confederate flag also stands for a defiant desire to preserve both culture and self over the generations. What? Are we supposed to savage anyone who stands up for the integrity of their own heritage and type in the face of the forces of homogenization?

      But the flag does not belong on a pole in front of public buildings. Not everyone sees it as a positive symbol of their forebearers. Let us not forget, though, that the “rebels”, with their atavistic sense of military honor and their Jacksonian view of the place of warfare as inevitable chore, later fought unstintingly under the American flag. Without them, would some of us “be lampshades” or once again have become “uncompensated cotton pickers”? Well, that might be a stretch, but did not their strange sense of integrity sometimes serve us?

  • Pulling that flag down is only common sense. It is amazing how people throw around the word freedom of speech until an issue affects them. I am sure it would not be welcomed if african americans started running around waving red, black and green flags. I am black and would not do that as I know it would make others uncomfortable. Plus I am an American so that is my flag. And also, that flag does not even have the same meaning as the confederate flag. Pulling it down is JUST COMMON SENSE. This country would be a better place when when races’ common sense is equivalent to anothers. Example Travon Martin, to black people it was common sense that his killer went to jail. To some white people, not so much.

  • I am a South Carolinian and I am so proud to watch that flag come down from over our statehouse. I have always felt that it was traitorous to keep a flag representative of secession on the Capital grounds. We do not salute this flag so it does not belong on our statehouse. It was put back up on capitol building 57 years ago as a symbol of SC defiance during the Civil Rights ERA. It belongs in a museum because it is history!!

  • Michael L Maliner

    I wonder how Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben feel about the Confederate Flag coming off the South Carolina State Capitol today.

    Do you think they will feel any safer at church this Sunday with Colonel Sanders still skulking about?

    An important, incremental step in the right direction…mlm

  • It never ceases to appall me how far some people will go to justify abhorrent behavior in their non-conformist little minds; in this case, man’s inhumanity to man. Clearly there is still a mind-set that black’s, being of African descent are less than human, which is not a surprise to me. Fortunately, the cycles of birth and death as well as Cognitive, Spiritual, and Physical evolution/growth keeps us moving as a species.

  • The Confederacy lost the Civil War, therefore how is it a celebratory event? I don’t know many losers who are celebrated and if you don’t, I think that we can start with the confederate soldiers because this flag has been hung high throughout the United States as a symbol of great honor, yet it represents the losers who forgot about being humane to fellow human beings. I am confused as to how you can honor the hatred of others based on skin color or nationality in the form of a flag that purely does not represent all views for all Americans. The Germans proudly wore swastika’s on their uniforms while they performed a so called cleansing of the Aryan Nation by murdering millions of Jews. Both of these movements came to and end, both Hitler and General Lee committed suicide, yet these people portray themselves and to be proud. My question is proud of what? Being a loser or being disappointed by their leaders? This is a prime example of a sore loser and yes once again they have lost yet another fight that deals directly with hatred being the center of attention. This flag being taken down means so much to many who have been discriminated against, called a racial slur, or lost a loved one in the Civil Rights Movement. It is a long awaited win that has been 50 plus years overdue.

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