Thank God. Good for them. Good for us all. Finally. Finally.

By Tim Dominick/The State -- I hope they don't mind my using it.

By Tim Dominick/The State — I hope they don’t mind my using it.

UPDATE: The governor will sign the bill today at 4 p.m. I understand that the flag will come down Friday morning at 10.

Let us celebrate:

The Confederate flag will leave the South Carolina State House grounds after five decades this week after the House overwhelmingly approved a bill to remove the Civil War icon early Thursday morning.

The House voted 94-20 to banish the flag from the Capitol after more than 12 hours of debate over the historic measure.

The bill now heads to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature. Haley started the call for removing the flag in the days after nine African-Americans were shot and killed in a historic Charleston church last month.

“It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state,” Haley said in a Facebook post.

If Haley signs the bill Thursday, the flag could be taken down Friday….

78 thoughts on “Thank God. Good for them. Good for us all. Finally. Finally.

  1. Dave Crockett

    I stayed up through the third reading. Special kudos to Rep. Cobb-Hunter, Horne, Smith, Ott, Neal, and Stavrinakis…even to Quinn for moving to table his own amendment.

    I am so disappointed with my representative, Bill Sandifer, whose last ditch appeal to his colleagues “…not to capitulate to the Senate” appeared disingenuous when he didn’t have the courage even to be present for the third reading, much less to vote his conviction. I’m forced to believe that he was equally disingenuous when he told me by e-mail midday yesterday that “I have not made a final decision, however, I am leaning strongly on voting to take it down.” It now feels very much like he was trying to play both sides of the street from the outset.

    At least Pitts, Bedingfield, et al. cast votes consistently backing their propositions all the way to the end, even if they were in vain, wrong-headed (IMHO), and largely symbolic.

    1. Margaret Pridgen (Maggie)

      I was very disappointed both Sandifer and Whitmire sat it out. Not exactly profiles in courage.

  2. Karen Pearson

    I’ll believe it when I see it. And when I see it, Thompson’s “Alleluia” will be playing in my head and heart!

    1. David Carlton

      What an interesting choice. Not the Hallelujah Chorus, but a quiet, throbbingly intense piece building to an almost orgasmic climax before settling into a satisfied peace. I’m a chorister myself, so I get this.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Whereas we plebeians are hearing a medley of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Joy to the World” (Hoyt Axton, not Isaac Watts), “Dixie,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yep. One of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite tunes. He requested it at the end of the War, saying:

            I have always thought `Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. [Applause.] I presented the question to the Attorney General, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. [Laughter and applause.] I now request the band to favor me with its performance.’

            With that precedent, this seems an appropriate occasion.

            And of course, I was thinking of the classic (to fans of pop music kitsch) medley that Elvis sang

  3. Lynn Teague

    Yes, it is finally coming down, after a very depressing day. Much of what went on yesterday felt like pro-flag legislators (pro ANY Confederate flag) were trying their best to drag my poor dead Confederate ancestors out of their graves to prop up their own egos, their illusions and delusions and, not least of all, their seats in the House. We were repeatedly told that we would hardly know a substitute Confederate flag was there, really, it looks so much like the state flag, we could ignore it, that giving in to this teeny tiny concession would be “grace.” No. That proposal has nothing to do with grace, and there is nothing tiny about a concession to flying any flag of the Confederacy. There is a big stone monument remaining to recognize the valor of fallen soldiers. That is enough. And finally, most of the House of Representatives voted accordingly.

    1. Rose

      I was so happy to hear Gilda Cobb-Hunter tell Rick Quinn that his colleagues needed to stop telling them to “give them grace” over flying a substitute flag because it was offensive. I steamed every time one of them said it. Shockingly insensitive and arrogant to use that term.

    2. Karen Pearson

      I surely expect that when the KKK does its rally, all those who have been singing the “heritage not hate” round will be out their protesting loudly and visibly that they (the KKK) have “hijacked” the flag and should relinquish it immediately. We will see Mr. Bright, out there, right?

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        The State referred to Senator Bright as a pariah. Let us hope that is true, until he decides to rejoin the decent, rational, kind part of the human race.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      As details come out about what exactly is going to happen tomorrow, keep us updated. I might drop by to see it.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Ran into Bobby Hitt this morning as I was leaving breakfast and he was coming in to work (same building). Just as I was reminiscing about my first editorial on the subject earlier this week, he waxed nostalgic about the early 80s when he says he and my fellow former editorialist Kent Krell conspired on an editorial calling for the flag to come down. I need to look that one up sometime.

    Anyway, I asked him to please tell the governor how much I appreciate her leadership on this, and let her know how proud I am of her…

    1. Pat

      I’ve disagreed with Gov Haley on many things, but hiring Bobby Hitt deserved accolades. Now he’s the second best decision she’s made, because taking on the flag issue is her absolute best decision.

  5. SBS

    Movies will be made of this historic event. I can see it now…

    “Rick Quinn, The Last Confederate Congressman”

      1. SBS

        I have yet to understand what Rep. Pitts means by the double standard treatment he says he got yesterday.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Stupid, hostile, bad-faith obstructionism didn’t get the same respect from the majority as did good-faith efforts to pull the people of South Carolina together.

          That’s what he meant.

          But the truth is, he got far, far more respect than he deserved, doing what he was doing.

          Completely absurd petulance…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’ll never forget that his hours of obstructionism kept most people from witnessing the eventual happy, triumphant end in real time.

            Personally, if he had never gotten up to speak or offer his contemptible amendments, I probably would have been in the chamber when it happened. I wish I had been. Then, I didn’t even get to witness it via video when the feed quit on me a little after midnight.

            But… we have him to thank, I believe, for Rep. Horne’s majestic explosion, and I WAS right there in the chamber to witness that…

            1. SBS

              mmmmajestic. Sorry, but I just can’t get to that characterization yet. Explosive, yes. mmmmanipulative, maybe.

              I rather liked the composure that Gilda Cobb-Hunter maintained throughout the sessions. And the GRACE that Rep. Govan projected when Rep. Merrill asked him if he was “even a member here.” [You all look alike insinuation?]

            2. Jeff Mobley

              After watching the whole thing on over-the-air channel 35.3 (which didn’t cut out until it was all over, by the way), I have to say, it’s not fair or correct to lump Quinn in with Pitts and/or Sandifer.

              I would have voted like Ballentine did, opposing the amendments, but I sincerely belive that what Quinn was trying to do was to minimize the number of “No” votes on passage of the bill. I think he really expected that their would not be significant delay even if the house passed an amended version.

              Another thing, if it hadn’t been for Pitts’ and others’ parade of amendments, folks might not have been so exasperated by the time they condidered Quinn’s.

              Again, I would have voted like Ballentine, but Quinn shouldn’t be lumped in with those who voted “No” on passage and then left before third reading.

              1. Jeff Mobley

                I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment here without at least one egregious misspelling. My apologies.

              2. SBS

                Yes — and maybe it’s that great picture of Quinn up there that has helped me have a certain respect for his commitment. The Confederate Hiroo Onoda?

              3. Mark Stewart

                What is with obstructing all day and then skedaddling?

                Yellow it used to be called.

              4. Kathryn Fenner

                Maybe so, but the Quinns are weaselly and have indulged in too much dirty politics…

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    The state Democrats put this out:

    SCDP Chairman Statement on Removing the Confederate Flag
    “Our unity has birthed renewed hope”

    Columbia, SC – South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison released the following statement regarding last night’s vote by the South Carolina State House to remove the confederate flag from the statehouse grounds.

    “Our leaders in Columbia deserve a great deal of thanks for exercising courage to remove the confederate flag from the statehouse grounds,” SCDP Chair Jaime Harrison said. “There are people on both sides of this issue who exhibited constraint and civility during these turbulent times. I know our friend Clementa Pinckney would be proud.”

    “Over the past few weeks South Carolina showed that we could stare down hatred and bigotry,” Harrison added. “We have been battered, bruised and heart broken, yet last night we were able to accomplish something that many believe to be impossible.

    “Our unity has birthed renewed hope. A divisive symbol may be departing but the real work remains. We must continue to fight for access to health care through Medicaid expansion, equitable funding for education, economic development for rural communities, investment in our deteriorating infrastructure and racial healing.
    “I hope we use this experience as an example of how we can move forward together.”

    # # # # #

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    And this came from the Republicans:

    South Carolina Republican Party
    (803) 988-8440

    Columbia, S.C. – SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore tonight issued a statement following the S.C. House of Representatives giving final passage to a bill that removes the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. The bill now heads to Governor Nikki Haley’s desk for her signature.

    “Tonight was a pivotal moment in South Carolina’s history. For too long, the Confederate battle flag on our Statehouse grounds had divided South Carolina. Those divisions began to heal tonight.

    “We can’t change the past or bring back those who were so needlessly killed just three weeks ago. But we are charting a course for a new century in South Carolina that honors our heritage without doing it at the expense of so many.

    “I commend Governor Nikki Haley, Speaker Jay Lucas, Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, Senator John Courson, and so many others for putting principles above politics in order to pass this bill. We continue to pray for the friends and families impacted by the Charleston shooting and for our great state.”


    1. Doug Ross

      I prefer the Republican release to the Democrat. I wish people would stop using the word “courage” or “hero” to describe the act of voting… because if it took courage to cast that vote yesterday, I’d like to know what character trait was being displayed when nothing was being done for the past 15 years? Those who fought this for so long only to give in finally after the brutal murders in Charleston didn’t demonstrate courage. Political expediency? shame? herd mentality? Maybe. But courage? Hardly.

      1. Doug Ross

        And for the Democrats to throw in Medicaid expansion in their release is as crass as Quinn’s ransom for the Confederate Relic Room.

        1. SBS

          The whole house was being held hostage/ransomed until they pledged allegiance to the shrine/relic/Cathedral of the South. I would walk away and come back to the screen and it felt like I had been dropped into a mental institution. What a crazy way to go about doing the people’s business.

          1. David Carlton

            Yes, asking for an extension of health coverage to tens of thousands of people who badly need it is as “crass” as demanding a shrine to one’s ancestors on state property. I can really see the resemblance. Actually, on the leftie blogs that I frequent one commonly hears people sneering at Nikki Haley as a fraud because she only reaches out to poor and black South Carolinians on easy, symbolic issues. Yes, they’re fools and ignoramuses, and I’ve defended her to them. But for the newfound space of grace to mean anything, it’s not just “heritage” that needs to be surmounted.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              Yeah, lunatic asylum….

              You know, Walter Edgar’s bestie married Rick Quinn’s sister….

            2. SBS

              Hey… he’s the one who said that.

              “South Carolina is too small for a nation and too large for an insane asylum.”

              He’s wrong. The solidarity of its citizenry in the past weeks has reached near-nation status. And the city block where the Statehouse is — is the absolute perfect size for an insane asylum; also the perfect picture of one when the Legislature is in session. SC is fascinating.

        2. Kathryn Fenner

          Yeah, except that Medicaid expansion will be “free” money that will boost our economy, even if you don’t care about the working poor whom it will benefit, but the Relic Room….

          1. Doug Ross

            I was commenting on the timing of the statement about Medicaid expansion. Putting that in the release related to the flag coming down was putting politics ahead of the importance of the event. They couldn’t just let it go for one day.

            Anyway, I always hear complaints from the left about Republicans trying to vote down Obamacare over and over. How is that different from constantly calling for Medicaid expansion? The answer is no in South Carolina. As they say on the left, “Move on!”.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        “because if it took courage to cast that vote yesterday, I’d like to know what character trait was being displayed when nothing was being done for the past 15 years?”

        That’s easy: Cowardice. No question about that…

  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    Isn’t that a wonderful picture Tim shot? For some reason, The State went with this one as the dominant art, but the one above is to me the best I’ve seen.

    I love the symmetry; I love the joy… The very best element is the way Todd Rutherford and Rick Quinn are interacting. Like old enemies become friends… “Remember back when you…” and “Yeah! And remember back when we…” and celebrating that all the nonsense is behind us, and we are all together, joyfully, one happy family…

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Tim is a treasure, for sure. Go Aiken Hornets!

      He posted a selfie on Facebook of himself on the left, the flag on the right and the State House in the middle, taken at 2:30 AM.

      He used to have a shock of black hair.

  9. JesseS

    Never thought of myself as someone who cared a lot for southern decorum, but yeah, Jim Merrill. Can anyone recommend a good pocket guide to send his way?

      1. JesseS

        Some of his comments seemed a bit snide and in many circles just plain offensive. Like telling a woman, Horne, to have control of her emotions or stating that he had no idea what grace was. I know is politics, but If I had said that as a kid, I’d have probably gotten slapped.

    1. SBS

      Just printing the basics on a Post-it® note may work:

      “Blacks, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, poor whites and women are now 5/5ths persons.” c.2015

  10. Doug Ross

    Watching all the current and former politicians file into the room for the bill signing ceremony, I am reminded of the saying “Success has many parents while failure is an orphan.”

  11. Michael Rodgers

    What we’ve seen is the evolution from old to new South Carolina. Old is division for division’s sake, where nobody gives unless they also get. The new way is doing the right thing, standing shoulder to shoulder, and being kinder than necessary. The party chairs began evolving some time ago, perhaps when they jointly recommended YES to the adjutant general amendment. Gov. Haley evolved after the massacre. Rick Quinn evolved last night, in real time, while we watched.

    1. David Carlton

      I don’t know the younger Rick Quinn, and wasn’t prepared to like his hard-core neo-Confederate dad. But I participated with the elder Quinn in a history seminar some years ago, and was quite impressed. The topic was the South in the 1930s, TBS, not the Civil War or the Confederacy, which probably made a difference, but I found him knowledgeable and engaging, and our exchanges were fruitful. I like to tell my students that there are over four hundred years of southern history, and the Confederacy accounts for four of them. Quinn Senior understands the South as far more than Confederate “heritage,” and I saw indications yesterday that the younger Quinn, even though he’s on the other side, has breadth of his own.

    2. SBS

      re: “Rick Quinn evolved last night”

      And with grace. And I believe that was him escorting the Honor Guard soldier carrying the flag today.

      A lyrical toast:

      “Once in while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if you look at it right”

      -Grateful Dead “Scarlet Begonias”

  12. Burl Burlingame

    A tipping point. Folks who were too “polite” to complain about a symbol of racism just finally got fed up to HERE. And those who sort of don’t care but are smart enough to realize that it will bite them in the ass come election time knew it was past its sell-by date. By leading the charge, Haley isn’t so much righting a wrong as announcing her national intentions.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Well, yeah–she’s term-limited here….but I really believe she was touched, and i have been no fan of Tracy Flick

  13. bud

    This is a good thing. It has certainly attracted scores of tourists and legions of media types. Has there ever been an event in Columbia that has attracted so much national media attention? Let the 21st century begin.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      The Sanford debacle certainly attracted a lot of attention, but without a lot of advance notice on just how weird it would be.
      This has been a week long event following several other notable events, so I think you are right.

  14. Michael Rodgers

    Thank you Brad Warthen for your advocacy and tenacity and support. Thank you to others on the blog, Kathryn, Bryan, Bart, Scout, Bud, Mark, Lynn, and especially Doug for all the discussions. Cheers and Congratulations. Skaal. Danke Shoen.

    1. Michael Rodgers

      And of course Norm and Karen Pearson and Burl and Phillip and Rose and others, thank you.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      I’m not sure I’ve done anything that is worthy of being thanked, but it’s nice of you to say.

    3. Norm Ivey

      An enormous thank you to Brad for continuing to hammer away at this. I never expected it to happen.

Comments are closed.