This evening, by a vote of 94-20, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to remove the Confederate Battle Flag flying on the grounds of the state capitol.
The vote follows a 36-3 vote yesterday in the South Carolina Senate.
Governor Nikki Haley has indicated she will sign the legislation into law.
What happens next isn’t so clear: the debate over the Confederate flag, symbols, and icons had gone far past this original objective identified in the wake of the murder of nine African Americans in Charleston by a gunman who took a great interest in the Confederacy.
I have heard it said that Dylann Roof was an outlier, not representative of Confederate heritage. Yet I’m not convinced that his beliefs were all that different from those you might find expressed in Backsass, the blog of Virginia Flaggers webmaster Connie Chastain Ward, or by League of the South president Michael Hill (there’s not much difference between Chastain Ward and Hill, either). Read Roof’s manifesto, then read what we’ve seen Hill and Chastain say. Tell me the differences, and whether they outweigh the areas of fundamental agreement.
What happened this week in Columbia was an interesting moment, but the success of the effort to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the capitol grounds does not mark the end of this issue, nor will it bring peace and harmony. This debate will continue. There will be more votes and decisions concerning the public display or selling of Confederate symbols elsewhere. We’ll discuss some of the more visible ones here. But let’s also remember that the Chastains and the Hills and the Heimbachs and so on won’t fade away.