Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After 150 Years and One Mass-Shooting, S.C. Governor Wants Confederate Flag Gone

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

After 150 Years and One Mass-Shooting, S.C. Governor Wants Confederate Flag Gone

Article excerpt

SC governor: Let's take down Confederate flag

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WASHINGTON - History may ultimately bestow the most unexpected legacy upon a racist gunman who attacked a black church allegedly in the hope of igniting a race war.

It's unlikely the impact the hate-filled accused mass-murderer had in mind back when he was posing for pictures with segregationist symbols, including the flag of the old Confederate South.

But now, as Dylann Roof sits in a jail cell, charged with killing nine churchgoers, he might struggle to come to terms with the fact that he may turn out to be the man who finally got the "stars and bars" pulled down in South Carolina.

The state governor announced her support Monday for removing the old Civil War symbol from the grounds of the state capitol in what could signal a definitive shift in the years-long debate over the Confederate flag.

Nikki Haley said she would recall the state legislature if lawmakers failed to deal with it over the summer. As she did so, she was applauded by a crowd around her that included high-ranking Republicans from the state and national level.

"The murderer now locked up in Charleston said he hoped his actions would start a race war," Haley told a news conference. "We have an opportunity to show that not only was he wrong, but that just the opposite is happening."

Haley added: "It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds ... 150 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come."

The issue has flared sporadically in the state and rippled into the national arena by virtue of South Carolina's make-or-break status as the state that almost always chooses the Republican presidential nominee.

In the last election, a woman was booed by a Republican crowd for asking candidate Newt Gingrich whether he'd remove it.

In 2000, George W. Bush avoided the issue, while his wife Laura defended the flag as a piece of history, saying it wasn't inherently racist.

Bush's vanquished rival John McCain later admitted his shame in declining to take a stand on the issue.

''I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary," McCain admitted soon after his defeat. "So I chose to compromise my principles. …

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