Michael Pitts: Fighting For Our Shared History

INSIDE THE DEBATE OVER THE CONFEDERATE FLAG, PART II (Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series.  For the first part, click here). || By MICHAEL A. PITTS || There were many misunderstandings during this month’s emotional debate to remove the Confederate battle flag and pole from a…


(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series.  For the first part, click here).

|| By MICHAEL A. PITTS || There were many misunderstandings during this month’s emotional debate to remove the Confederate battle flag and pole from a memorial located on the South Carolina State House Capitol Complex.  In the end, I voted “no” for the removal of that flag on the second reading of S. 897.  I authored approximately forty amendments to this bill, many with cosponsors.  My objective was two fold: First, to show by single amendments the diversity of the number of monuments that exist on our State House grounds and their vulnerability to sensitivity.

This fact has already been proven in the aftermath of the debate with calls to remove both the African American History Monument – which was also part of the 2000 compromise – and calls for the removal of the Tillman Statue.

Secondly, I wanted to memorialize the flag of the First South Carolina Infantry Regiment of the Confederate Army and the standard bearers of that flag whose bravery and sacrifice in battle is historically chronicled inside our State House rotunda, and also written about by President Teddy Roosevelt.

The First S.C. Volunteers of the 54th Massachusetts Union Army are memorialized in the beautiful artwork of bronze and granite at the African American History Monument on the east side of the complex.  I worked through amendments in an attempt to bring the same level of memorialization to their Confederate counterparts – and to the first S.C. Infantry’s regimental flag.

First S.C. Volunteers Plaque54th Massachusetts54th Massachusetts (Detail)First S.C. Volunteers Flag


Both units are a significant part of South Carolina History and important to the citizens of this state – along with the war in which they fought.  This war and the reasons leading up to it need to be remembered so that history does not repeat itself.  We need to remember all history; the good, the bad, and the ugly because collectively, it is who we are.

Slavery is an abomination that still exists today.  Amnesty International quit purchasing children back out of slavery in impoverished countries because parents sold them again into a vicious cycle. Horrific as slavery was to the Africans brought to America, it was a dire price paid by ancestors to give us people like Dr. Martin Luther King, General Colin Powell, Senator Tim Scott, and Senator Clem Pinckney.

I can’t imagine our country without such people.

I believed that two of my amendments could achieve my goal: The bronze and granite monument or the replacement of the Battle Flag with the 1st S.C. Volunteers Flag.  The flag amendment had a large majority of support in the Republican Caucus, and the monument amendment had good support.  Myself and other lawmakers were led to believe that the flag amendment would pass, only to find out that we had been deceived.

It was difficult to find a reason why legislators normally willing to work through their issues were obstinate. I finally realized there is no need to bargain with a salesman when the dealer has promised a free car.

My attempts at equal representation through compromise were met with absolute resistance.  My intent, as I stated many times during debate, was not to keep the Confederate battle flag from being taken down – as I know the pain that the flag brings to some of my good friends who are African American.  In the end, I voted “no” on second reading of S. 897 because of the stance of no compromise from the other side.  I chose not to vote on third and final reading as I was mentally and physically exhausted from the debate and my vote would not have impacted the final outcome.

I have talked with colleagues on the other side of this debate that are willing to work with me in the future to resolve these issues.  For the sake of our state, I hope we can work together to faithfully honor our shared history.

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

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JJ July 21, 2015 at 10:37 am

You ca hate blacks or love blacks. There is no I between because one side or the other will call you a racist.

Mr. Pitts, take some advice. Go on vacation, otherwise the race police will make sure there is nothing left of you.

Racist Talk July 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

Most people don’t “hate” or “love” any race.

Most people just acknowledge all races are equal and hope for the best for everybody.

This concept eludes racists because of their ignorance and hate refusing to see other races as human beings.

Hate is what makes human beings lesser beings.

Racists will always be lesser beings, even lesser than how they view another race, for as they dehumanize another race, they dehumanize themselves even further by doing it.
Whichever side the racist is on, you shouldn’t care what they call you.

Don’t return their hatred with more hate, return it with love and kindness, even if they don’t deserve it.

This is what the victims of the Charleston shooting did for Dylann Roof.

Only love can disarm hate.

you know me July 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Mr. Piss may ain’t real bright, is he?

Centrist View July 21, 2015 at 11:20 am

Is there a group out there call Sons of Confederate Potholes?

Sure would be nice if our legislature was as passionate about maintaining the infrastructure they spent $billions creating. But then again, who gets elected from patching potholes.

Put you monuments and flags on the list and attend to them after our roads and bridges are fixed.

Quietus July 21, 2015 at 11:26 am Reply
CorruptionInColumbia July 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

That is good! A month or two ago, between shows and commercials, Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” was running segments about a guy who found a similar solution to the pot hole problem in his area.
I believe he was in the UK. His idea was to paint penises on pot holes. As I understood it, they were covered up rather quickly after his attempts at artwork were put in place

Rocky July 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

To be fair, I was on vacation in the Northeast last week – NY city – well that goes without saying crappy roads. Fair portion of other parts of NY State – crappy roads (Niagara Falls NY – can we sell that back to Canada?). But NJ – home of Super Chris Christie – holy crap. The roads there are so bad. I mean they suck. The NJ Turnpike, I-78, I-95, Route 80, 287, 280. They all sucked so bad. Rt 3 out of NYC, Rt. 46. Just suck, suck, suck. Way worse than anything here in SC. My take away, all the states, SC included, won’t do anything – they’re all waiting for money pot Congress to give them the money in the new infrastructure bill.

Superfly July 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I hear that from people moving/retiring to SC, that their roads back home are in awful shape. However, travel to NC and GA, the states we compete against most of the time for new business and industry and you find that their roads are in great shape, and building new roads to relieve congestion.

tim July 21, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Maybe Nimrata is paying to have NC and GA roads repaired.

Quietus July 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

Jenny came back for another Meme of Day™

Sophlady July 21, 2015 at 11:44 am

Three or 300 blog entries will not change the fact the Confederate flag is the emblem of slavery, secession, segregation and white supremacy. The purpose of the Confederacy is clearly stated in its founding documents – to maintain and expand chattel slavery in perpetuity in North America.

Pitts’ apologia and falsehoods are easily debunked. Publishing this detritus insults the intelligence of FITS readers.

mamatiger92 July 21, 2015 at 11:46 am

For the love of God move on, man.

Superfly July 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Pitts was too tired to push a button there at the end? He’d just addressed The House not a few minutes before the final vote, and he sounded, appeared to be of sound mind then. He just couldn’t bring himself to vote for what he’d stated he knew was going to happen before he proceeded to lead the charge in making the SC House appear to body full of ignorant rednecks.

The Colonel July 21, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Dear Representative Pitts,
I would be pleased for you to construct the monument you have proposed provided you do three things:
1. Fix the damn roads first
2. Use you’re own money to build said monument
3. Shut up about it forevermore
Thanks for your consideration of my request.
Sincerely, I am
The Colonel

Rocky July 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

But I want my monument to the brave Union soldiers who liberated Columbia. Else they’re being unfair to my Yankee ancestors.

Throwing shoes July 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

“liberated Columbia”

Just like our liberation of Iraq.

RogueElephant July 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

The flag BS is over. FIX THE ROADS.

Goobersmacker July 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Here is what Pitts’ constituency looks like. Looks like Mamma even put on a clean tank top just for the rally! I think that’s Grand Tango in the black shirt between Mamma and Skeeter. And is that Emily Peterkin flipping the bird?

Squishy123 July 21, 2015 at 1:46 pm

What are you all butt hurt over now? From someone who’s originally from outside of SC you just described the entire state so don’t flatter yourself.

Victorious Secret July 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Just stop it, already. Please. Spare us from part III.

Rocky July 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Both units are a significant part of South Carolina History – and that’s why they have a Museum. Else, what I want is a large bronze cannon pointed directly at the State House to honor the brave men of the Union Army that crossed the river and liberated Columbia from the treasonous rebel forces. How’s that deal work fer ya!!!! Now fix the roads.

Really? July 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

“I chose not to vote on third and final reading as I was mentally and physically exhausted from the debate and my vote would not have impacted the final outcome.”

You were elected to represent your constituents and you are PAID for your service. Not voting while you were in the chamber is a dereliction of duty IMHO. We should dock your pay for the whole day including your per diem and lodging.

Rocky July 21, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Actually – in human speak – what he said was – I lost, so I figured F%$K IT.

Jonny Logic July 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

How can you use the ‘excuse’ that you were ‘exhausted’ from a debate that YOU, yourself, made exhausting? Or that you didn’t vote because the outcome was already decided? That right there is apathy, and an apathy that you must have learned from your constituents. How else do explain your re-elections?

CorruptionInColumbia July 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Mike better get him some rest, otherwise he won’t be on top of his game in December and January when he pre-files some grandiose pro-gun bill tht he has already devised amendments for, with intent to sabotage that pro-gun bill so it never happens. Rinse and repeat, each year.

Roberto July 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Dear Mr. Pitts,
What you are doing is attempting to revise history. You tried to stop the flag removal. You failed. Move on into infamy before your racist friends get pissed.

Soft Sigh from Hell July 21, 2015 at 4:43 pm

What’s going on here? What does this have to do with Trump?

Lone Ranger July 21, 2015 at 7:46 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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