Bat­tle flag to go?

South Carolina Se­nate gives fi­nal ap­proval to re­move Con­fed­er­ate flag

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

The South Carolina Se­nate gave fi­nal ap­proval Tues­day to a bill re­mov­ing the Con­fed­er­ate flag from a pole in front of the State­house, send­ing the pro­posal to the House, where it faces a less cer­tain fu­ture.

The ban­ner at the Capi­tol came un­der greater scru­tiny over the last few weeks af­ter author­i­ties said a gun­man, mo­ti­vated by racial ha­tred, opened fire in­side a black church June 17, killing nine peo­ple. The sus­pect was pho­tographed sev­eral times hold­ing a Con­fed­er­ate flag and burn­ing an Amer­i­can flag, and one of the slain was state Sen. Cle­menta Pinck­ney, who was the head pas­tor at the church.

Tues­day’s 36-3 vote came af­ter a day of de­bate in which sev­eral white sen­a­tors said they had come to un­der­stand why their black col­leagues felt the flag no longer rep­re­sented the val­our of South­ern sol­diers but the racism that led the South to sep­a­rate from the United States more than 150 years ago. Sen­a­tors then stood as Pinck­ney’s widow came in the cham­ber. Each mem­ber came up to talk to her and of­fer con­do­lences.

Two of the three sen­a­tors vot­ing against the bill were the only peo­ple to speak Tues­day. Repub­li­can Sen. Lee Bright called the vote an at­tempt to re­vise history.

“At the end of the day, it will not change any­thing. What we will have done is take peo­ple that re­spect their South­ern her­itage, and we will have kicked them in the teeth,” Bright said.

Mean­while, the man charged in the killing, 21-year-old Dy­lann Storm Roof, was in­dicted on nine counts of mur­der, a weapons charge and three new charges of at­tempted mur­der that stem from sur­vivors of the mas­sacre.

As for the flag, de­bate in the House was sched­uled to be­gin Wed­nes­day, and it’s far from clear when a vote may be taken. Repub­li­cans have strug­gled to reach a con­sen­sus on what to do next.

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