Politics

South Carolina Legislators Begin Debate On Removal Of Confederate Flag

| by Ethan Brown

State lawmakers in South Carolina returned from a weeklong break on July 6 with the removal of the Confederate Flag from government grounds at the top of the agenda.

The State Senate is expected to consider a proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans alike that will move the flag from its current position at a memorial in front of the state office building to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia, the state’s capital, The New York Times reported.

The Senate is the first body that must approve any measure to allow the proposal to go forward. If the Senate votes in the affirmative, then the State House of Representatives will begin debate.

Those who wish to see the flag moved to the museum may have momentum going forward; according to a survey compiled by The Associated Press, The South Carolina Press Association and the Post and Courier, a Charleston newspaper, legislators in both chambers will have the two-thirds requirement to relocate the flag.

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However, those who oppose the Confederate flag’s removal are starting to speak out, using social media as their microphone.

“This flag is a part of our heritage, so the people of this state should have the final say,” Republican State Senator Lee Bright said to his supporters on Facebook on July 1.

Other Republicans, such as Gov. Nikki Haley, have already called for the flag to be relocated to the museum, saying “It’s time to move the flag from capital grounds” in a public appearance on June 22.

The flag is seen by many African-Americans as a symbol of slavery during the Civil War from 1861-1865. Others say the flag represents Southern pride and unity after the South broke away from the North before the Civil War.

One civilian, Nelson Waller, does not support the removal of the flag from state grounds. When interviewed by the Associated Press, Waller expressed his concerns about the state giving into "Northern liberals." He also held up a sign that read “Keep the flag. Dump Nikki!”

The debate of the flag began after the June 17 massacre of nine African-Americans attending a church meeting in Charleston. The alleged murderer, Dylan Roof, is reportedly a white supremacist who frequently visited anti-African American websites and posted the Confederate flag numerous times on his social media sites.

Sources: The Associated Press via Yahoo! News, The New York Times

Photo Credit: DixieSCV/Flickr Creative Commons