Why the Confederate flag at South Carolina’s capitol didn’t dip for the Charleston dead

In the hours after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, American and South Carolina flags across that state dipped to half-staff in honor of the nine killed.

But the Confederate battle flag that sits on the grounds of the capitol in Columbia was left untouched. Given that the 21-year-old, bowl-cut miscreant who fired his .45 in the sanctuary did so in the name of white supremacy, the untouched emblem became a sore spot on Thursday.

The Charleston Post and Courier explained:

Officials said the reason why the flag has not been touched is that its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.

State law reads, in part, the state “shall ensure that the flags authorized above shall be placed at all times as directed in this section and shall replace the flags at appropriate intervals as may be necessary due to wear.”

This blog is long accustomed to the debate over the place of Confederate regalia in modern culture. The best tutorial we can offer comes from Zell Miller in 1993, during his failed attempt to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia state flag.

Seth Clark, a top Democratic staffer for two state lawmakers, reminded us of the fact with the video below. All honors to Gov. Roy Barnes, who accomplished the feat in 2001. But Miller’s speech remains the treasure. How to measure its greatness? By the silence of lawmakers to whom the governor delivered it:

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About the Author

Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.