By Paul Gable
The SC House of Representatives will begin today what should be the final debate on removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.
After a bill to remove the flag raced through the SC Senate in the last two days, garnering only three No votes, momentum is on the side of removing the flag.
But, the House may not be as easy even though the bill received first reading approval yesterday.
A total of 26 amendments to the bill are already filed with the possibility of more coming.
Some of the amendments deal with flags to replace the current one when it comes down.
Some are in the realm of the absurd – just like South Carolina politics most of the time.
One, I am told, calls for the American flag to be flown upside down when the Confederate flag is removed. This may not be as ridiculous as it first sounds.
Flying the American flag upside down is an international signal of distress. That seems very appropriate in an area near the statehouse.
Outside protesters and petitioners aren’t helping the situation. The more outsiders become involved in the process, the more some South Carolina politicians are going to dig their heels in.
Hasn’t anyone read this state’s history or heard of John C. Calhoun the state’s rights and nullification advocate?
I’ve quoted James L. Petigru several times over the last few years in this blog. His December 1860 statement about South Carolina after the state legislature voted to secede from the Union is just as true today – “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”
A quote yesterday from freshman SC Rep. Chris Corley may preview what will be heard in the SC House chamber today. Corley made the statement during debate on one of Gov. Nikki Haley’s budget vetoes yesterday, but was referring to Haley’s call to remove the confederate flag from statehouse grounds.
“Her high exalted excellency has gone off and had herself a Damascus Road experience now that she doesn’t have to answer to the voters of South Carolina again,” said Corley.
That will be the problem during the debate. Some see Haley using the confederate flag issue as political posturing to raise her national political profile, which is not an unreasonable assumption.
But, political posturing is what the confederate flag issue has always been about. If it were truly about heritage or honoring fallen soldiers, it would have gone up well before 1961. That it was raised as Jim Crow was being dismantled and the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum says it all.