Nikki Haley is leading a fight that will have repercussions in the 2016 election. She is calling for the Confederate flag, currently flying on the State Capitol grounds, to be taken down.
The urgency of the action is being driven by the recent tragedy in the Charleston church, that took the lives of 9 people.
It's a divisive issue - the lawmakers were only able to get the flag, which was put in place in 1962 (Hollings, Democratic governor), moved from the Capital dome to another spot on the grounds in 2000 (Hodges, Democratic governor). As a result of that action, lawmakers were forced to make a compromise that made any further movement require a 2/3 vote - a REALLY high bar to change.
South Carolina is funny - the people are generally pleasant (Black and White), polite, and not given to screaming and yelling. As a result, the aggressive actions of protestors strike the natives as distinctly uncivilized, and lead many to reject the message. Perhaps that's the intent of the protestors - perhaps not.
The people who display the Stars and Bars are in the minority - generally less educated, more rural, and long-time South Carolinians. The more urban parts of SC have had their "unreconstructed" heritage diluted by the influx of people from other parts of the country and the world. Many of the Republican party have not responded to the Charleston Post-Gazette's poll of legislators - that may be because they don't want to rush into a decision, it may be because they are opposed, but don't want to go on the record until they have to.
This is a time for leadership on the part of Republicans. If you are in SC, please contact your legislator, either thanking them for supporting the issue, or urging them to support the issue.
I sent this text to legislators:
I am writing you to urge you to support removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state grounds. Among the reasons to do so:
- As a gesture of respect for your fallen colleague, Senator Pinckney
- Opposition to this proposal would cement the perception that Republicans are not supportive of either civil rights for all citizens, and of Black people in general
- Failure to declare for this proposal would have a devastating effect in the 2016 election, and likely for some time to come
- It's the right thing to do - it's time for change
Thank you for your support,
1131 Christopher Circle
Rock Hill, SC 29730