Today marked an absolutely historic day for the American people; after intense debate and deliberation, the South Carolina legislature and Governor Nikki Haley finally called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.

 

In an emotional ceremony, state troopers lowered the flag, methodically folded it, and proceeded to remove it from the grounds. As they took the flag away, the racially diverse onlookers began to cheer in support.

 

The event has drawn considerable national attention, with even President Barack Obama voicing his support on Twitter:

“South Carolina taking down the confederate flag – a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future.”

 

The flag had flown since 1961; initially a celebration of the Civil War, it remained in place as an act of defiance towards the Civil Rights movement. Although many have called for its removal over the years, the recent racially motivated church shooting in Charleston — leaving nine black worshippers dead — galvanized South Carolina to finally make the change.

 

This event still has its fair share of detractors. Although the Confederate army certainly fought to preserve slavery, many find the flag just as equally representative of southern pride and the value of state’s rights. It raised numerous questions about other forms of offensive speech — such as rap music — with major pundits like Sean Hannity addressing the grey area it represents.

 

Confedetate flag, race relations

Nascar fans refuse to comply with request to no longer fly the Confederate flag (businessinsider.com)

NASCAR — an organization with a strong following in the American south — recently joined many other businesses by requesting that race patrons no longer fly the Confederate flag when in attendance. Fans met this request with steadfast defiance, flying the flag and disregarding programs set up to exchange for the American flag. Other organizations such as Apple, and Wal-Mart discontinued the sale of products emblazoned with the flag.

 

Despite this, the fact remains that just as many have bastardized the flag into a symbol of hate, and as such it had to come down. Overall this represents a huge step forward with regards to racial issues in America — one of the first truly tangible moments of progress in years.

 

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you happy the flag came down? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!