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Vincent Sheheen Wants Confederate Flag Off Of State House Grounds




By FITSNEWS || Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen joined a group of South Carolina mayors in calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the S.C. State House.

“Today, we are charting a new path for South Carolina focusing on the future, not the past,” Sheheen said. “Leadership matters, and we must speak up for things that are right and abandon the divisive politics of the past. To compete in the global economy we must welcome and keep the best and the brightest, so we must fly a flag that brings us all together. We must be a state that looks forward, towards a future of possibilities not backwards to discord. To honor our forebears and to promote unity, it’s time to move the Confederate Flag from the front lawn of our Statehouse.”

Joining Sheheen was S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg), who is running for lieutenant governor.

A group of eight mayors – including scandal-scarred Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin – joined Sheheen and Sellers in arguing for the flag’s removal.

“We agree with you: South Carolina should fly the American flag instead of the Confederate flag in front of the Statehouse,” the mayors wrote in a letter to Sheheen. “The Confederate flag should be reverently moved to a museum where it will honor the soldiers who fought and died for South Carolina.”

For those of you keeping score at home, Sheheen’s opponent – S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – is on the record supporting the flag’s presence on the State House grounds.

Worth noting? Sheheen’s move comes as one recent poll shows Haley enjoying a 10-point lead in their rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election, which Haley narrowly won.

“It’s the definition of a Hail Mary,” one political observer told FITS.

The Confederate flag dominated headlines during the 2000 Republican presidential primary in South Carolina – resulting in the Palmetto State receiving literally months of bad press.  In April 2000, the S.C. Senate voted 33-7 to remove the flag from the dome of the S.C. State House – and from inside the House and Senate chambers.

As part of the compromise, though, a smaller version of the flag was raised behind a Confederate soldiers’ monument on the north lawn of the State House complex.

“Off the dome and in your face,” supporters used to say.

Despite the compromise, the NAACP is still enforcing a totally ineffective tourism boycott against South Carolina, while the NCAA is refusing to hold collegiate athletic tournaments in the Palmetto State.  Meanwhile some Democratic lawmakers have attempted to discourage football recruits from attending the University of South Carolina and Clemson University as a result of the flag’s presence.

In the fall of 2009, we asked our readers what they thought of the Confederate flag’s current location on the State House grounds.  According to our survey, forty-one percent of FITS readers (723 votes) wanted the flag to stay right where it is.  Thirty-four percent (599 votes) wanted it to go back on top of the State House dome.  Finally, twenty-six percent (458 votes) want it to be removed from the State House grounds altogether and placed in a museum.

We’ll run another poll at the end of this article to see where people stand today.

What do we think?

As we’ve noted previously, this issue strikes us as pointless.  We believe symbols like the Confederate flag – or any other flag – are utterly meaningless.  How come?  Because they can be used by anybody to advance anything … just like political labels.

“State leaders can leave it, move it, burn it or use it as a bath towel for all we care,” we wrote back in 2011.

What do you think?  Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below.