South Carolina Senate Votes To Remove Confederate Battle Flag From State House Grounds
In South Carolina, the Republican-controlled State Senate voted 37-3 this afternoon to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol grounds in Columbia:
“COLUMBIA, S.C. — With protesters outside and the desk of a slain member draped in black, the South Carolina Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House.
The 37-to-3 vote propelled the state toward a landmark moment that many hope could come within days: the lowering of the flag that has flown outside the seat of state power here for more than five decades, even as it became a symbol of the segregated South and white supremacy. …”
As Jesse Jackson looked on and watched the vote, South Carolina Republicans voted in overwhelming numbers to remove the Confederate Battle Flag and appease the NAACP. After one more procedural vote, the action will shift to the State House where anti-flag forces are said to have enough Republican votes to carry the day. The bill will then go to Governor Nikki Haley who led the call for its removal.
This sudden turn of events isn’t hard to explain: the corporate CEOs who control the South Carolina Republican Party leapt at the chance to vanquish the Confederate Battle Flag, and they announced their decision to Gov. Nikki Haley in one unanimous voice:
“South Carolina’s corporate titans have long held a simple view of the Confederate flag: It was terrible for business. Under Ms. Haley, a Republican, the state had devoted itself to luring major companies like Mercedes-Benz and Boeing through tax incentives and relentless recruitment from the governor. In many ways, the campaign was a success. But the flag, and everything it stood for, always endangered that progress, leading to repeated calls from business groups for its removal. …
After the killings in Charleston, the business leaders saw their chance. The chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, an old friend of Ms. Haley’s named Mikee Johnson, polled his 56 board members about the future of the flag. Everyone who responded was of the same opinion. He called Ms. Haley and told her: If she was ready to bring down the Confederate banner, they were behind her.
So was the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the muscular association that represents giant international companies like BMW and Bridgestone Tire. Over the weekend after the shootings, its president, Mr. Gossett, urged members to draw up a strategy for finally ridding the State House of the flag.”
The South Carolina Republican Party has finally raised its own Republican Battle Flag over Columbia: a stainless and meaningless white banner of surrender, which represents the corporate philosophy of the “New South.” It has finally abandoned the pretense that it cares about cultural issues when its real agenda has always been keeping taxes low for millionaires and labor cheap for foreign and out-of-state corporations. In the words of Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, “a flag is not worth a job.”