The debate of the confederate flag in the southern states has been brought to Congress on Thursday when Democrats proposed a resolution to remove it from the Capitol, which was faced by a strong opposition of Republicans.
The issue has been put on the agenda after the infamous massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, when a 21 year old gunman killed nine black Americans during a Bible study at the Mother manuel
Church. The hate crime has racial implications and the suspect, Dylann Roof, has been posting photos on social networks holding the Confederate battle flag and on website that includes a racist manifesto, emphasizing his white supremacy.
The Confederate flag is a part of U.S. history and for many Americans it signifies the heroism of American soldiers killed 150 years ago. However, others see it as a symbol for oppressions, primarily because 11 Confederate states have rebelled and wanted to keep black people under slavery. The resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Democrat Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and requires the removal of state flags which contain the Civil-War Confederation battle flag from the House part of U.S. Capitol. The only black member of Congress from Mississippi has stated that the flag must be removed from the halls of Congress because it represents bigotry, hatred and something that the country is not.
According to Reuters, Trey Baker, counsel for Thompson, has stated that Thompson’s plan will not take out the flags from the House member’s offices. The target is a collection of flags that can be found in the Capitol basement tunnels and some other areas. However, the vote in the House was mostly partisan for this resolution, with 240-184. According to Reuters, Trey Baker has stated “Republicans have ground it to a halt.” The resolution has been sent to a committee for further consideration and with that it is stuck in administrative procedures. Ever since the shootings in Charleston, many Democrats have voiced their constituents interests of taking down the Confederate flags from government buildings. The call comes from some Republicans as well, like Southern state governors of Alabama and South Carolina. There are pushes to take down statues of leaders during the Confederation, along with other memorabilia.
The Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has also introduced legislation that would punish states that issue license plates with the Confederate flag and, according to Reuters, has stated “States that want to allow drivers to continue flaunting this symbol of racism and violence on government issued license plates should realize that continuing to do so would jeopardize a portion of their federal transportation funds.”
The history and the future of the Confederate flag should be reconsidered again, because the use of the flag evokes many memories among black Americans who see it as a symbol of hatred.