“Remove this flag and do it today!”
Those were the words of South Carolina Republican Jenny Horne who made an extremely emotional plea to her fellow lawmakers to bring down the confederate flag that flies at the Statehouse.
After the domestic terrorist attack in Charleston, SC which took the lives of nine African-Americans in the Emanuel AME Church, a national debate has raged regarding the confederate flag.
In response, the South Carolina House opened a special session to hold debates on the removal of the flag which have lasted for two days. Rather than just approving the bill already passed in the state Senate, which also has Governor Nikki Haley’s endorsement, many representatives proposed amendments to the bill.
For example, Republican Mike Pitts proposed designing a fence around the flagpole that holds the confederate flag at the Statehouse. This redesign would pay honor to Stand Watie, who went from Cherokee leader to confederate general. Because, this is obviously the time to build yet another civil war memorial.
But wait, it gets better. New York Times reports that Pitts’ other proposed amendments failed, also. Those included removing all monuments from the Statehouse grounds, putting the decision of removing the confederate flag to a popular vote, and making it a requirement to fly the U.S. flag upside down above the Statehouse dome.
Yes, he really did.
But, that wasn’t the end of the insanity that transpired on the House floor. After three hours of debate, only four amendments had been covered – all rejected. They included ideas like planting a state flower in place of the flagpole or placing the flags in a case in front of the monument.
Mind you, the purpose of the special session was to debate and vote upon the removal of the flag; not determine replacements, not create new memorials, not remove all memorials – it was just to debate the removal of the confederate flag.
As you can imagine, after sitting through hours of agonizing speeches proposing asinine ideas that showed little to no respect for the victims of the horrendous attack – emotions are going to run extremely high. Rep. Mike Pitts held the floor for much of the time, yet, when Nikki Haley made an emotional plea for the House to pass the Senate bill – which would remove the flag from the grounds within 24 hours of her signing it – meaning, by Friday, he claimed he “took his hearing aids out.”
But, the insane amendments continued to be proposed well into the evening. By 7:30 p.m., Republican Christopher Corley proposed that the white flag of surrender fly above the dome as a replacement, to be symbolic of how his Republican colleagues were “surrendering on the issue.”
And that is when Rep. Jenny Horne took the floor and made the most emotional and compelling argument likely heard all day. After watching her fellow lawmakers make light of responsibility bestowed upon them and having shown much disrespect to those that lost their lives at the hands of a white supremacist – ideals represented by the flag that still flies at the Statehouse, she nailed them.
She expressed her concerns in entertaining amendments, saying if the bill was amended it then would delay a decision for many more months. She voiced the urgency of tabling the amendments for another day and passing a clean bill, “The people of Charleston deserve immediate and swift removal of that flag from this grounds. We can save for another day where this flag needs to go.”
She then tearfully mentioned people in the House that are offended by the flag and said:
I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday! And if any of you vote to amend, you are ensuring this flag will fly beyond Friday.
She continued, “If we amend this bill, we are telling the people of Charleston ‘we don’t care about you.’ We do not care that someone used this symbol of hate to slay eight [nine] innocent people who were worshipping their god. I’m sorry, I have heard enough about heritage.”
Watch her powerful speech here:
Featured image via video screen capture