“It was yet another senseless, horrific act of violence,” said John Oliver.
On Sunday night’s edition of HBO’s excellent program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the British host teed off on the fact that, in the wake of the racially motivated act of terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine black people dead in a historical black church, certain parts of America are still enamored with the Confederate flag—a symbol of tyranny, racism, and oppression that still flies over certain state Capitol buildings, including South Carolina’s.
“It is pretty clear that nothing is going to be done about how this tragedy was committed, which might explain why some are associated with a symbol about why it happened,” said Oliver. “Because in the wake of this racially motivated shooting, some people found one thing especially galling…That’s right. The Confederate battle flag was flying at full-staff in front of the state Capitol. Although the bigger question is why it was flying at any staff at all. The Confederate flag is one of those symbols that should really only be seen on T-shirts, belt buckles, and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world.”
Oliver then threw to a clip of South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham defending the Confederate flag, saying it “represented a symbol” of the Civil War and was indicative of “who we are.”
“I believe the first time the Confederate flag was used in a racist way was the very first time they sewed the first one. But to be somewhat fair here, lowering the flag outside the state Capitol is a little more difficult than it sounds,” Oliver said.
Yes, in order to even lower the Confederate flag to half-staff outside of state Capitol buildings like the one where the shooting happened in South Carolina, you need a two-thirds vote in each state legislature to do it.
“Now look, look South Carolina, and indeed any state that flies this flag—even as part of their actual state flag, Mississippi—HOLY SHIT!” Oliver exclaimed. “Now might be a great time, not out of respect to the events of this week, but to the events of the past several centuries to take that vote and lower that flag to half-staff, and when it’s at half-staff, why not keep lowering it all the way down, and once you’re holding it in your hands, take it off the flagpole completely and fold it—or don’t bother—put it in a box, label it ‘bad flag,’ and put it somewhere that no one can see.” “It’s just a simple, good thought.”