SC

Michael Pitts: Setting The Record Straight

INSIDE THE DEBATE OVER THE CONFEDERATE FLAG, PART I (Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series). || By MICHAEL A. PITTS || In recent weeks I have been portrayed by the national media – and many of our state’s printed press and television stations – as the…

INSIDE THE DEBATE OVER THE CONFEDERATE FLAG, PART I

(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series).

|| By MICHAEL A. PITTS || In recent weeks I have been portrayed by the national media – and many of our state’s printed press and television stations – as the face of opposition for removing the Confederate battle flag.  This despite the fact that not once during the debate did I advocate for leaving the flag on the State House Complex.

Rather, I recognized the fact that it brought pain to the heart of my good friend and decorated veteran, S.C. Rep. Lonnie Hosey.  I clearly stated on that point that if the flag brought pain to my friend, it was time to lower it.  I did, however, ask for a flag that had not been abducted by murderers and miscast as a symbol of racism to replace the one being lowered.

I had several goals in advancing various amendments for debate – all of which were clearly stated. First, I wanted to show that the issue was not really the flag but a much larger agenda – an attempted scrubbing of history and removal of all Southern heritage.  My final amendment proved that point when a majority voted to not replace the flag with our own state flag.

CONFEDERATE FLAG
CONFEDERATE FLAG

Secondly, I wished to gain reciprocity between South Carolinians serving in the Union army in comparison to those serving in the Confederate army. This could have been done with the fourth amendment I presented – which would have place a bronze and granite memorial on the State House Grounds depicting the first South Carolina volunteers of the Confederacy. It would have been done in the same manner depicted on the African American History Monument that shows the first South Carolina Union volunteers.

Thirdly, I hoped to show by individual amendments the many monuments and memorials left open to the same sensitivity as the Confederate battle flag, potentially leaving them vulnerable to attack from our society driven by political correctness. This debate became a mad dash to the finish line driven by political agenda and personal motivations, ignoring process, thereby circumventing the public voice from being heard on both sides of this issue. It also placed debate on the floor of the legislature that normally would have occurred throughout the legislative process at the subcommittee and full committee level.

My first amendment recognized Chief Stand Watie, leader of the Cherokee Nation, and his absolute disdain for the Federal Government. His disdain came as a result of the Cherokee people being repaid for their support of President Andrew Jackson with the Trail of Tears.

My point in this is that the same level of disdain for the “cancer” called Washington D.C. – which is sucking the life blood from individual liberty and state sovereignty, the same over bearing Federal Government that forced secession movements by Northern states during decades prior to the Civil War –  is still prevalent and deadly today.  At one point I stated during debate that I felt like General Lee at Appomattox.  A colleague suggested to me that I more likely felt like General Stonewall Jackson, who was accidentally shot by his own troops that wept when they realized what they had done.

Mine came in the back – and with intent.

I have been labeled an obstructionist by the national media.  I have been called a bigot, a racist, a Nazi, a coward and a traitor by people ignorant to who I am.  Other than the misleading information put out by the printed press and television news, my debate repeatedly called for unity and resolution, no matter the outcome.  I believe our state was a shining star throughout this tragedy. My desire was to make my points clearly, concisely, with dignity and honor and without offense.

To that end, I did my best.

Michael A. Pitts is a retired law enforcement officer who represents the voters of District 14 in the S.C. House of Representatives.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

***

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84 comments

Arm Pitts July 16, 2015 at 9:37 am

Sure thing pal.

Reply
Squishy123 July 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

Blah, blah, blah… just more political BS. 1000 words to say what could have been said in a single paragraph.

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TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

Many pols think they can go on all day and that people will pay attention.

It’s a type of “god complex” that lacks self awareness.

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Just another confermation July 16, 2015 at 11:47 am

Jackanapes All!!

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Praying Mantis July 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

And this is only part 1 of 3.

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Taos July 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

What a genuine dick you are… with takers such as yourself, it’s always either your way or nothing.

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TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

“What a genuine dick you are”

You literally just took the board’s biggest troll to an “all you can eat” buffet with stewed goat.

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Squishy123 July 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm

I’m taller than a troll.

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Squishy123 July 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm

More from another blowhard who could have simply said “fuck you” and be done with it.

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mamatiger92 July 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

cool story, bro.

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Soft Sigh from Hell July 16, 2015 at 10:02 am

Imagine what the south would be like today if the federal government had not imposed basic constitutional rights for black citizens upon in? Heck, for defendants, for prisoners.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

Many of the rights that were imposed were done through court rulings by US District Court Judge Simons. Simons was appointed on the recommendation of Strom Thurmond.

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Quietus July 16, 2015 at 10:04 am

Jenny Horne was just here to add her two faux cents. Jenny meme of the day.

https://i.imgflip.com/oa3jg.jpg

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TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

“faux cents”-

Every penny is “faux” now. The ones worth something have been hoarded or melted down.

So maybe you should say “faux faux cents”. Sure, it’s awkward, but a bit more precise.

:)

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Quietus July 16, 2015 at 10:44 am

:-) I’ve got a 5 gallon bucket full of the old real one. Everytime I get one pre 1983 off in the bucket it goes.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

Planning to corner the market?

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Quietus July 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

I’ve been saving my change forever. Quarters, Nickles, and Dimes in one bucket, pennies in another. Started separating copper from zinc sometime around 2001.

TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Nickels are actually worth more melted down than their face value.

That’ll change(no pun intended) soon.

Centrist View July 16, 2015 at 11:33 am

Nickels or pennies? And why pre 1983?

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Quietus July 16, 2015 at 11:56 am

Pennies pre 1983 are solid copper and worth anywhere from 2x to 5x their face value in copper alone. 1983 and forward are copper plated zinc.

TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm
CorruptionInColumbia July 16, 2015 at 10:52 am

I remembervthe good old days, when SC sales tax was only faux cents on the dollar. Then it went to a nickel and has been going up ever since.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 11:13 am

Best one yet. +10

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NeverCommentedBefore July 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

I watched every minute. While I was an advocate for removal of the flag, I was completely impressed with the professionalism, demeanor, and honor with which Representative Pitts handled himself and the voice of the many South Carolinians for whom he spoke. His statesmanship was in stark contrast to the emotion and ignorance of many other politicians who were clearly pandering to the enormous national press corp standing in the chamber.

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YallCalmDown July 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

“I was completely impressed with the professionalism, demeanor, and honor
with which Representative Pitts handled himself and the voice of the
many South Carolinians for whom he spoke.”

So what you’re saying is you were high as you were watching.

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Mandingo July 16, 2015 at 7:11 pm

10++

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Uh huh July 16, 2015 at 10:56 am

“I watched every minute. ”

Few people here will believe you.

Those that do will probably assume you’ve got some type of mental problem.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 11:36 am

If he didn’t at the start, he surely did at the end…

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Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

I agree with you, however I respectfully disagree with Rep. Pitts.

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CorruptionInColumbia July 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

I like what he said about Chief Stand Watie. He was spot-on with those remarks.

Sadly, being pro-2A, I cannot help but take anything Mike Pitts says with a huge grain of salt. The way he expertly introduces pro-gun legislation or signs on as a sponsor, then like clockwork, finds a way to poison the well with amendments which stand to make that legislation more harmful than good for gun owners, I just cannot trust him. This way, he keeps yhe gullible gun owners in his district voting for him, the NRA-ILA endorses him and sends him money, and at the end of the day he hasn’t done a damn thing for gun owners and gets to brag to his buds in the Legislature, SLED, SCLEOA, FOP, or other anti-Constitution, anti-Bill Of Rights, enclave about how he looked out for them and pulled the wool over the gun nuts’eyes, once again.

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Krazy Kat July 16, 2015 at 10:21 am

Stop. Just stop. You’re digging that hole deeper.
Parts 2 and 3 can’t get any better.

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Praying Mantis July 16, 2015 at 12:37 pm

lol

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Jonny Logic July 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

Simple Grandstanding and pointless rhetoric. Instead of being about the Flag, which should have never been there in the first place, Mike made it all about Mike, and what Mike wants, Mike needs, Mike thinks, and what Mike has to say. It was the House of Mike for the day. Thanks for wasting our time and our money.

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Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

I’m not going to challenge Pitts motives, but his effort to change a debate about racism to one about excessive Federal power is inappropriate. I also think to try and link legitimate concerns about excessive Federal power to the Confederate cause is not only a historical lie, but is a political mistake that can only alienate others with similar concerns about the Federal government.

Finally, I think Haley was right to ask for a clean unequivocal bill that avoids all the issues Pitts raised. It was a huge advantage to South Carolina to solve the problem without committees or returning ammendments to the Senate. Citizens are so frustrated with the inability of government to solve problems. To take longer than a week to remove a flag would be embarrassing.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

I still could care less about whether or not the Confederate flag flies on the State House Grounds. What bothers me is the continued illegal assault on other memorials, the defacement, graffiti, and destruction of these memorials is disturbing. The attempts to destroy Stone Mtn, and other memorials is an attempt to erase history. These items need to be preserved and displayed appropriately. They need to tell the true story of our past. Not revisionist history from either side.

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swpbbls July 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

Sic Willie — please have Rep. Pitts explain in his next communique what he would be intending to signify by flying the current US flag upside down on the Statehouse. Thanks.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 11:05 am

I strongly disagree with his mention of flying the US flag upside down but I imagine that his answer would be to show that we are a country in distress. We are defeating ourselves with too much government, a loss of individual freedom, and too much political correctness. We have become the United States of the Offended. To many people that is also what the Confederate flag on the State House grounds represented.
I could have cared less if the flag was on the grounds or not. I understand that flag is offensive to many people because the associate it with the KKK, slavery, and oppression. I understand that to others it represents freedom from oppression of the federal government, states rights to govern themselves, and has nothing to do with slavery. To others it also means, I am from the South and I’m damn proud of it.
I agree with Rep. Pitts that our country is on the wrong path for all of the reasons in my first paragraph and other reasons that have nothing to do with the flag and race. But, I could never agree with the idea of flying the US Flag upside down. That is a symbol for surrender and defeat. This country should never surrender or accept defeat. We should instead work to resolve the things that weaken us, in order to make us stronger.

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swpbbls July 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

“This country should never surrender or accept defeat. We should instead work to resolve the things that weaken us, in order to make us stronger.”

Very true.

I think what he meant was something a little stronger than Rep. Corley’s suggestion that we fly a white flag on the former Confederate flag pole signifying the Republican party’s surrender. I think a great medium response/compromise would be a giant-sized cotton pink slip flag at the state border facing Washington, D.C. Whichever border that is.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

Maybe we could have flown the “battle flag” upside down – oh wait….

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Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 11:03 am

“not once during the debate did I advocate for leaving the flag on the State House Complex.”

Yet on the first vote held on the bill to remove the flag, you voted Nay and on the second vote, you are recorded as not voting.

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tomstickler July 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Actually, Pitts voted against second reading of S897, then ducked the vote on the third reading after adjournment and reconvening at 1AM. He did not answer Roll Call, and had not been granted a Leave of Absence.

While it is true that he did not advocate leaving the Confederate Battle Flag on the State House Complex, he did advocate replacing it with various other flags and symbols of the Confederacy. He proposed so many amendments along these lines that the House Journal misnumbered the vote on #54.

He voted in favor of Amendments 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 59, 63, 65, 66 and 68 in roll-call votes.

Draw your own conclusions.

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Alexander_N July 16, 2015 at 11:29 am

Michael,
You can’t defend treason. You can’t celebrate it in public. You shouldn’t be spending government money on it. I will fight at every given opportunity to get rid of this stuff on government property. You can fight for it and defend it all you like. That’s YOUR right as a citizen too. But as for me, I don’t wait for government to support heritage stuff I find important. I celebrate my heritage without begging from the taxpayers and the sons and daughters of the confederacy should cease begging for us to support theirs also. And as much as your friend tears up when he thinks of his heritage being scrubbed from the government landscape, there are those who cry when they think about the fact that the government is paying with their money for the maintenance of stuff they find outright offensive. There is no version of that flag that can be OK to display on the government dime.

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CorruptionInColumbia July 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

Was not the act which started this country,”an act of treason” against The Crown? I seem to recall that the Founding Fathers intended that we have the right to scrub our form of government should it cease to function in the best interest of the citizenery. I belive that was the intent of the Confederacy. Abe Lincoln, overbearing twit that he was, was having none of that and forced part of the Union who no longer wished to be tied to the rest, to remain.

Lincoln paved the way for many of the abuses of power that we suffer with, today.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 11:45 am

CiC, the difference between the (un)Civil War and the Revolution is in the winning and losing. Rebel and win, you’re a freedom fighter, rebel and lose, you’re a traitor – at least as far as the general populace is concerned.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Slavery aside because it was wrong, this nation would be better off if states rights had prevailed and we had a smaller federal government. That was what our founding fathers intended. That is why when the South seceded the formed a confederation not a union.

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The Colonel July 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Ehhhh, probably not.

Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Using the Confederacy to advocate for state’s rights, hurts the cause of state’s rights.

Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm

The Confederacy was based on states rights, among those rights were the rights to decide on slavery. I am not advocating on behalf of slavery, it was a horrible institution that went on far too long. It would have ended on it’s own, probably through a slave revolt, had it not been for the civil war. But, the south losing the war was a major blow to states right and only served to expand the power of the federal government.

Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Then you do understand the problem. To say that a Confederate victory on states rights would have extended slavery is not helpful for the cause of states rights.

Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

A Confederate victory would have extended slavery and that is a bad thing. Slavery would not have ended as quickly as it did. That is why I said slavery aside because I did not want to imply that an extension of slavery was a good thing.

Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

The more that opponents of states rights can associate it with the Confederacy, the more successful they will be.

Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:40 pm

It’s history. You can’t disassociate the two but they aren’t reliant upon the other. You can have one without the other. Anyone that tries to say that everyone that supports stated rights is a racist or is pro slavery can easily be exposed as an idiot.

Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm

And Hitler was great at ending the German depression. Any advocate for an economic policy that invokes Hitler is bound to fail. History or not.

I don’t think Pitts will be a good advocate of states rights if he continues to associate the cause with the Confederacy.

Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

No. But, historically you can’t rewrite history to say that both of these were not among the issues that led to secession.

tomstickler July 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Technically speaking, South Carolina seceded because the federal government would not violate a state’s right to abstain from slavery and its concomitant policies, such as enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act.

From the South Carolina Declaration of Causes of Secession, “The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these states the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the state government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution.”

Speak D Truth July 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm

That refers to federal governments refusal to enforce a Constitutional Mandate to respect the laws of other states. Slavery is, was, and always will be wrong but under the Constitution one state has to respect the laws of other states. By harboring those slaves and refusing to return them the northern sates were violating the Constitution. Until such time as slavery was deemed unconstitutional either by amendment to the Constitution or ruling by the US Supreme Court those states were obligated to return the prisoners.

Alexander_N July 16, 2015 at 11:58 pm

You are absolutely right. It was an act of treason to the British Empire. Therefore I advise the Brits to NEVER fly an American flag in front of the building where their members of Parliament meet.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 12:01 pm

We all share the same heritage. The monuments do not necessarily celebrate that heritage. It documents it, preserves it, and should serve as a reminder of who were as a people and a country. History should be recorded factually without political influence and without fear of offending anyone. It should be available for us to study and learn from not erased, hidden, or rewritten for the sake of justifying the acts of the past.

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The cleaning lady July 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

It seems concerns that removing the flag scrubs/sanitizes history are backwards. The flag was placed on the Statehouse as a rebuke of the gains of the civil rights movement and to remind african american South Carolinians of their station in SC. Therefore, to say that the flag was there to memorialize the lost soldiers of the Confederacy is sanitizing history and hiding the true intent.

Unfortunately for Heritage crowd, they allowed politicians in 1961 to play loose and cavalier with their symbol and the price is being paid now. The process of taking the flag down allows us all to consider this history/heritage and everyone leaves with a better sense of the actual history that led us to this event. With respect tot this flag and its removal, Heritage is being served.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 4:20 pm

The flag was placed in observance of the 100th Anniversary of the Civil War by a democratically controlled legislature. It was left there by a democratically controlled legislature in defiance of civil rights legislation. It was moved to the monument in 2000 as part of a compromise to remove it from the dome. It was placed there in honor of dead civil war veterans both black and white. The flag was never really loaned to the KKK. It was carried there by the democrats that formed the KKK as part of their party’s opposition to civil rights.

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Alexander_N July 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Wow, then it’s really confusing to me why Pitts and his ilk wanted amendments that would remove the African American monument since we all share so much as to heritage. And why does every other conservative pundit give these speeches about the only things that are being “whitewashed” is Anglo-Saxon culture? It isn’t congruent at all with what you are saying.

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Krazy Kat July 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm

I read an article last night that made one point I had not thought of–that all officers had taken an oath to protect and defend the United State, the Constitution, etc. Essentially a military loyalty oath. Many southern officers stood by this and fought with the Union Army. Others, like Lee, did not, making them de facto traitors. You can argue motives, values, etc. forever but you have to start with that fact.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Do you also realize that prior to the Civil War you were a citizen of SC before a citizen of the US. When SC seceded you were no longer a citizen of the US, you were a citizen of the CSA. The oath that you took as a US Citizen would no longer be valid when you became a CSA citizen. Those officers also would have resigned their commissions prior to departing for the South.

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Krazy Kat July 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

One of the reasons I come here is for insight and clarification. Good points.

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TroubleBaby July 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm

“all officers had taken an oath to protect and defend the United State, the Constitution, etc. Essentially a military loyalty oath”

You want to go further down the rabbit hole? How many officers today are violating their oath(s) daily?

Where do you draw the line between obeying the Constitution and following orders? At what point do they become “traitors”?

Heady stuff…time for a beer.

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Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

“sons and daughters of the confederacy”
When you use that phrase you should instead use the proper name of the organizations in capital letters. Not all sons of Confederate soldiers support the flag or some of the heritage expenses. BT included.

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Alexander_N July 16, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Thanks for your attention to detail. However I absolutely meant to use the phrase exactly the way I wrote it because there are plenty of sons and daughters of Confederates who don’t belong to The Sons and Daughters of Confederates yet believe that flag was absolutely at home either where it was or back on the dome. And the biggest problem is that those sons and daughters feel betrayed. All before they have been able to put it to a vote and win. But that was preempted this time.

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It's the Pitts July 16, 2015 at 11:31 am

No surprise that a racist, white trash Loser like Pitts reveres a symbol cherished by other racist, white trash Losers. Hey Pitts, you are a bigoted, racist traitor. Get used to it, Loser.

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jurisdoc July 16, 2015 at 11:32 am

Could have just said “I’m a redneck” and been done with it.

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Buddy Miles July 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

The smear campaign towards the South in general will continue. It’s been going on for decades. Crude and arrogant bastards have to have someone to put down in order to make themselves to be the better. They appreciate your help Pitts.

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Praying Mantis July 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

Mike Pitts was outplayed. It is my opinion, based on his opening remarks and interrupting to regain the floor after his time was up, his goal was to add amendments with the hopes of stalling the bill or loading it down with amendments that would potentially kill the bill.

Now he is scratching his head reflecting on why the national media is portraying him as the face of opposition and wants to set the record straight?

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TSIB July 16, 2015 at 1:03 pm

BULLSHIT.

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Conservative " Values" July 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Yep that word says all that needs to be said concerning this goofball.

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Albert July 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

You can’t talk about race. If you do you will be branded either a black lover or black hater. Of those that are dumb enough to engage in the conversation it is clear that they are equally hateful and divisive regardless of their point of view.

Both sides are repulsive, reflexive and are generally arrogant pricks that don’t really care about blacks but instead are solely focused on their own insecurities and their internal deficiencies. They project those issues onto everyone involved, hence their inability to understand what is being said or what is happening.

The real sickness is the vile nature of those individules involved in the debate. They are some of the worst people on the planet.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Haley is catching hell on her FB page for asking people to avoid the KKK this weekend but making no attempt to condemn the NBP or other racist groups that plan to attend this weekend.

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Praying Mantis July 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Not really, when you consider that 2300 + like it, almost 500 shares and less than 300 people seem to be disgruntled. Seems far more are agreeing with her.

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Bible Thumper July 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm

I think that the KKK is the only organization that has a permit. There is no need to acknowledge the NBP, because they are included in her request to avoid the KKK.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

I didn’t read it that way on her FB post.

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Speak D Truth July 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm

This is her FB Post:

Statement regarding the out of state KKK rally at the statehouse on Saturday: The strength and grace the people of South Carolina have shown over the last three weeks have inspired our family, our neighbors and the entire world. Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together. We want to make the Statehouse a lonely place for them. In doing so, we’ll honor those we have lost and continue to make our state stronger.
?#?OneSC?

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shifty henry July 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

‘make the Statehouse a lonely place’
— that sounds like Nikki

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Mark Sanford July 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

There’s an old political saying: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

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Superfly July 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Mike Pitts and his petulant, redneck, white trash understudy Chris Corely reflect poorly on South Carolina. It would almost appear as if those 2 clowns act on the advice of Big T/Grand Tango, another poor *loser*.

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Lone Ranger July 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Mike Pitts—or as the indians know him…Waffling Dog…thinks
his PC spiel and not voting will save his political hide

But Laurens County voters—not fools—know that hypocrites are
NOT cool—and will politically cut him long, deep and wide !!!

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Limbaughsaphatkhunt July 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Blah….blah….blah….racist. Get on now…go and eat that juicy Maurice’s BBQ you love so much.

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