You know, before the shooting in Charleston, I wasn’t holding my breath on this whole #TakeDownThatFlag movement. Since we moved to South Carolina, there have been petitions and request and newspaper articles about removing the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds, but that was it; the requests came, and then nothing happened.
Now, however, I am cautiously optimistic. And our state lawmakers are saying they are actually confident that a bill to remove that flag could be on Governor Nikki Haley’s desk by the end of next week. My fingers are crossed.
Vincent Sheheen, a Democratic state Senator who represents the part of South Carolina where we live — you just know I couldn’t live in a ‘Red’ county — sponsored the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate by next Tuesday, and then go to Haley by Thursday.
But … and ain’t there always a but? … House Speaker Jay Lucas, and he’s a Republican of course, says he will refer flag bills to the House Judiciary Committee “where they will go through the appropriate process” that might take weeks. Jay Lucas has not shared his opinion on removing the flag, so yeah. Hmmmmm.
And holding off any kind of vote, much less a resolution, could be dangerous. This past Monday night, after pro-flag and anti-flag protestors clashed at the capitol, one man was arrested after shots were fired. And someone threw a red-paint filled balloon at the statue of Ben Tillman, a white supremacist who was a governor and U.S. senator.
“It’s July and hot, and the world is watching. “It will only get worse. If we don’t act, we are encouraging problems.” — House Minority Leader, and Democrat, Todd Rutherford
And we still have some loon, and bigots, and out-and-out anti-LGBT asshats in the legislature, most notably state Senator, and Republican, of course, Lee Bright, who has started an online petition to keep the flag on the State House grounds because, he says:
“I hate how these creeps have misused these emblems.”
Creeps. South Carolinians who want a divisive symbol of racism and hate removed from state property are “creeps.” And if that doesn’t tell the people who voted for Bright — and there’s a misnomer if I ever heard one — that it’s time to vote him out, I don’t know what does.
Still, the 123-member House voted 103-10 and the 45-member Senate voted 42-3 to debate the flag, and those numbers indicate there is the two-thirds support required in the House and Senate to take down the flag.
But, it’s quite clear, by the number of South Carolinians who support removal, by the number of our legislators who support removal, by our Republican governor, who supports removal that the time has come to take down that flag.
Put it in a museum, where artifacts and relics from the past belong. It does not deserve a place on honor on state grounds.
Plus, and this would just be delicious, the Ku Klux Klan has scheduled a pro-flag rally for July 18. Wouldn’t it be rich to have the flag down before they ever showed up?