GOVERNOR: “WE ARE NOT GOING TO ALLOW THIS SYMBOL TO DIVIDE US ANY LONGER”
|| By FITSNEWS || Saying “the 21st Century belongs to us,” S.C. governor Nikki Haley called on her former colleagues in the S.C. General Assembly to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the S.C. State House.
“It’s time to move the flag,” Haley said. “We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer.”
A version of the flag has flown on the north lawn of the State House since 2000, when a bipartisan, bi-racial compromise moved it from the State House dome (and from within the chambers of both the S.C. House and State Senate).
Haley’s call – news of which was reported exclusively by FITS – comes in response to last week’s horrific, racially motivated shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, S.C. There, nine black parishioners – including S.C. Senator Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor – were gunned down by Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist.
“In no way does he reflect the people of this state,” Haley said of Roof.
Haley threatened to call lawmakers into an emergency session to address the flag, although it’s not clear whether she has that authority. In 2011, Haley’s attempt to bring lawmakers back to town to pass her watered-down government restructuring bill was struck down by the S.C. Supreme Court.
Prior to Haley’s announcement, leaders of the S.C. House of Representatives agreed to take the flag down – although they have yet to say whether they plan on pursuing options to do so immediately.
According to the House plan, the banner would be moved from the capital grounds to a government-run museum – the Confederate relic room.
One lawmaker – S.C. Rep. John King of York County – said he planned on introducing an amendment to the resolution governing the recent adjournment of the General Assembly putting the removal of the flag on the table immediately.
King’s amendment would require a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the legislature – and that would only get the issue on the table.
As for a vote to take the flag down, the 2000 compromise stipulated that two-thirds majorities would be required to move the flag from the State House grounds – although the constitutionality of that provision has been called into question.
During her reelection campaign last year, Haley rebuffed efforts to remove the flag. Prior to that, she had previously gone on record supporting the flag’s presence on the State House grounds. As recently as three days ago she was still noncommittal on the issue.
We don’t begrudge her for flip-flopping, though …
Prior to the “Holy City Massacre,” this website was indifferent to the flag.
“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.
In fact as recently as March of this year we were blasting the NAACP for their continued singular focus on taking it down.
But things change … and we reached the conclusion in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy that our indifference about the flag was standing in the way of “the legitimate angst of others.”
“Whatever people think the Confederate flag stands for, perception is reality – and the reality is it’s being used as the calling card for a dangerous, deadly new strain of racism, one intent on depriving black Americans of the most fundamental liberty of all: The right to a beating heart,” we wrote. “Hoisted by the state in 1962 as a rebuke of the civil rights movement, there is simply no compelling reason to leave this banner in place – and its removal imposes no hardship upon anyone’s freedom. Lawmakers should take it down. Now.”