At around 8 a.m. on April 12, in the Senate Chambers in Columbia, a new chapter in the history of our beautiful state was begun. On the 139th anniversary of the invasion of our state at Fort Sumter, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to put behind us one of the issues that has long divided our citizens. In a courageous and bold step, the Senate approved a compromise bill to relocate the Confederate battle flag to an appropriate place of honor on the Statehouse grounds.
One of the tests of any compromise, of course, is the manner in which it is received at the extremes of the various positions. By that measure alone, this one hit a grand slam. Before the vote was even taken, representatives of the extremes were criticizing the bill. The bill is a compromise, which by definition means not everyone will like it. But picture this -- Sens. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, Arthur Ravenel, R-Charleston, and John Courson, D-Richland, standing side-by-side with Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, in support of the measure. That alone is worth the price of admission.
I would like to publicly thank Aiken Sens. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, and Tom Moore, D-Clearwater, for their tremendous support and tireless efforts in bringing this issue to what will be remembered as the beginning of the end of this chapter of divisiveness in our state's history.
Regrettably, however, it appears the extreme wing of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is in control of the state chapter, as evidenced by the immediate announcement by President Gallman, who is supported by outsider Kweisi Mfume, that the bill was not acceptable.
The bill will likely pass the House, and will surely find support among the middle ground of South Carolinians, who want to get back to the important issues that really matter and truly impact the everyday lives of the hard-working citizens of our state. Let us all hope that voices of reason will prevail within the NAACP, and we can put this matter behind us once and for all.
Michael T. Terry, New Ellenton