John Oliver's Confederate Flag Compromise Is A Far Better Idea Than What Actual Politicians Have Come Up With
On Sunday's segment of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver perfectly summed up what America needs to do with the Confederate flag. After nine black Americans were shot and killed in Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last Wednesday night, there's been much debate about whether or not the flag should be removed from the South Carolina Capitol. Many people see the Confederate flag as a racist symbol, whereas pro-Confederate flag southerners view it as a tribute to their history and culture. Although authorities have said that the Charleston massacre was racially motivated, according to CNN, many politicians are tip-toeing around the Confederate flag issue and not giving a clear opinion, making Oliver's solution to the Confederate flag better than most politicians'.
Here's what Oliver suggests South Carolina does with the flag: lower the flag to half-staff out of respect for last week's victims, and then keep lowering it all the way down. He said: "And once you're holding it in your hands, take it off the flagpole completely, fold it — or don't bother — put it in a box, label it 'bad flag,' and put it somewhere no one can see it. Just a thought." This seems like the perfect way to handle the Civil War symbol.
While Oliver's solution would no doubt make a lot of pro-Confederate flag South Carolinians very angry, at least it's a real solution. Most politicians' comments on the issue have been completely vague and not a viable plan at all. When asked about the Confederate flag in his home state, Lindsey Graham said: "At the end of the day, it's time for people in South Carolina to revisit that decision. [That] would be fine with me, but this is part of who we are." Essentially Graham's solution is for South Carolinians to discuss removing the flag, but he doesn't really think that will happen.
Ted Cruz was just as non-committal on the subject, though he doesn't want the rest of the country telling South Carolina what to do. While campaigning in Iowa, he said it's "a question for South Carolina. And the last thing they need is people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it." He went on to explain that he understands both sides of the debate: "I think often this issue is used as a wedge to try to divide people." If there was a solution hidden in his statement, I certainly missed it.
Jeb Bush did actually have a plan for the flag, but it still involved putting it on display. In a Facebook post, Bush wrote: "In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged. ... Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward and I'm confident they will do the right thing." Oliver's idea for a "bad flag" box hidden away somewhere is still better.
Even Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, didn't make any suggestions for what to do with the flag. While speaking at the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors over the weekend, she called on Americans to talk about race, saying, "Despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished." However, there was no mention of a solution for the controversial flag.
Mitt Romney was one of the only politicians who publicly called for the flag to be taken down completely. On Saturday, he tweeted: "Take down the #ConfederateFlag at the SC Capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims." President Obama responded, "Good point, Mitt." Removing the flag from the state capitol is the first step, but what's done with it afterwards is just as important for dispelling racism, which is why Oliver's plan to put it entirely out of view is the best proposal.
Images: Last Week Tonight (3)