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I’m not from the South but I’ve always believed the Confederate battle flag was a symbol of hate and treason.  Now, I know my beliefs were justified.

Yesterday, the South Carolina House of Representatives was dragging its feet on the simple question of whether or not to remove that ugly symbol from its state capitol grounds.  Amendment after amendment after amendment was offered as the pro-flag forces dragged their feet (and their knuckles?).  No matter its association with a pro-slavery insurrection against the United States, the KKK and Jim Crow, the flag was sacred to those people.

Saturday morning, we saw a brave woman, Bree Newsome, climb the flagpole at the state capitol grounds in Columbia and rip down the Dixie banner.

Then, last night, as things seemed bleak for those who looked forward, another brave South Carolina woman had enough and stepped forward.  State Representative Jenny Anderson Horne took to the podium at the State House in Columbia and delivered what can only be termed an impassioned plea:

“... I will not vote to amend this bill today. We may visit this another session, another year, but 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 innocent people who were worshiping their God.

I’m sorry. I have heard enough about heritage. I have a heritage. I am a lifelong South Carolinian. I am a descendent of Jefferson Davis, okay? But that does not matter. It’s not about Jenny Horne! It’s about the people of South Carolina who have demanded that this symbol of hate come off of the Statehouse grounds.

And I will tell you I do know, and I have it on good authority that the world is watching this debate and there is an economic development prospect in Dorchester county that is in jeopardy, because we refuse to act. We need to follow the example of the Senate. Remove this flag and do it today! Because this issue is not getting any better with age!”

Something called the South Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said on its webpage that the vote marked a “truly sad day in Dixie.” Perhaps.  At the same time, however, it was a truly proud day for America. Some express consternation that there seem to be so many newbies to the fight against the Confederate Battle Flag and that is true.  So what?  I call it momentum and think that’s a good thing.  Many also say that taking down that flag will not eliminate the scourge of prejudice and hate.  True enough, but every time a vestige of our painful racist past is eliminated, that is something to be applauded and when we’re done applauding we can look for further indicia of hate and eliminate it. Soon enough, we’ll have made measurable, tangible progress.  Don’t diminish the importance of the action of the South Carolina legislature (the vote was an overwhelming 94-20). Too many of us would rather not even acknowledge our history of racism and its continued presence to this very day – despite the recent massacre in Charleston. Yet, come to grips with it we must – in the North as well as the South – and the action taken in South Carolina yesterday can only help.

Thank you, Jenny Anderson Horne, Esquire, legislator and lawyer; take it away:

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