The South Carolina State Senate voted Monday to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol. The 37-3 vote is only the second of three votes needed to pass the bill through the state’s upper legislative chamber before being forwarded to the State House where the bill will face more resistance from congressional members.
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has called for the flag’s removal since the tragic shooting in Charleston last month in which nine people were shot and killed by a white, 21 year-old who espoused white supremacist views and was pictured holding the Rebel flag on numerous occasions.
However politically incorrect the “stars and bars” may be now, some South Carolina politicians still argue that the hatred and racism associated with it is merely a perception that others do not share.
Senate majority leader Harvey Peeler Jr. mocked the logic that removing a symbol would heal past wounds when he said, “To remove the flag from the State House grounds and thinking it would change history would be like removing a tattoo from the corpse of a loved one and thinking that would change the loved one’s obituary.”
Sen. George Campsen III (R-Charleston), countered his leader’s sentiments with more inspirational language. “I’d implore us to pass this bill today”, Campsen said, “in the pursuit of peace and mutual upbuilding.”
Two amendments to the bill were defeated, one which called for a state referendum on the flag’s removal, and a second which would have permitted it to fly outside the State House on Confederate Memorial Day.
Today, the State Senate is set for a final vote on the bill, which will undoubtedly pass. Later in the week, the South Carolina House of Representatives will begin debate on the proposal.
If the bill does indeed pass the state legislature, the flag will be removed within 24 hours after being signed into law by the Governor.[New York Times]