The day after Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol, many legislators in the state are still undecided, at least publicly. The Post and Courier is pushing legislators to state their positions, and keeping a running list of responses. But a majority simply aren't answering. On Monday, when the project started:
By 6:30 p.m., those in the House supporting removal outnumbered opponents by a 4-to-1 margin. But less than half of the chamber had returned calls or emails, making it impossible to say how a vote might turn out. Across the aisle, only 19 of 46 Senators had weighed in.
Many are surely hoping they can put off answering until the issue dies down. Some are even pretty much saying so publicly:
“We haven’t had the discussion on it. I don’t think it’s right to have the discussion before we’ve had time to mourn for those who’ve lost their lives,” Rep. Todd Atwater, R-Lexington, said. “This is a reactionary decision and I don’t make decisions that way.”
Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, agreed and refused to say where he stood on the issue. “We should not be debating this matter, and we should not be leveraging the grief to try and advance a political position.”
Heaven forbid we advance the political position of removing a symbol of racism from state grounds just because of a racist mass murder. Wouldn't want to be reactionary or anything!
There are an awful lot of publicly undecided South Carolina legislators—most of them Republicans—who are going to have to come around if this thing is going to happen, and that means keeping up the pressure. The focus must stay on South Carolina long enough to prevent these weasels from slithering away from progress.