South Carolina Rep. Jenny Horne gave a very emotional and moving speech during the House debate on whether to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse this Tuesday evening, following the death of her colleague, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other African-Americans attending bible study last month.
Rep. Horne's speech was a welcome change of pace from what we saw from Sen. Lee Bright during the Senate debate this week.
A Republican House member has made an emotional appeal to bring down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse, saying anything less is an insult to the family of a slain Charleston legislator and colleagues offended by the banner.
"For the widow of Sen. (Clementa) Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury, and I will not be a part of it," said Rep. Jenny Horne, her voice shaking with tears and emotion. "If we amend this bill, we are telling the people of Charleston, we don't care about you."
After Horne's comments, lawmakers essentially defeated an amendment to fly a different flag in place of the battle emblem.
UPDATE: Here's a rough transcript for anyone who can't watch the video.
As a member of the Charleston delegation, I would like to express to you how important it is that we not amend this bill, and the reason we need not amend this bill at this time is because if we amend the bill in any form or fashion, it is going to a conference committee. It is not going to end quickly. We are going to be doing this all summer long.
Let me tell you, I attended the funeral of Sen. Clementa Pickckney and the people of Charleston deserve immediate and swift removal of that flag from this ground. We can save for another day, where this flag needs to go, where which flag needs to fly, or where it needs to fly, or what museum it needs to be in.
But the immediate thing that I'm concerned as a member of the Charleston delegation and speaking on behalf of the people in Charleston, this flag offends my friend Mia McLeod, my friend John King, my friend Rev. Neal. I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday!
And if any of you vote to amend, you are assuring that this flag will fly beyond Friday. And for the widow of Sen. Pickney and his two young daughters, that would add insult to injury, and I will not be a part of it!
And for all of these reasons, I will not vote to amend this bill today. We may visit this another session, another year, but if we amend this bill, we are telling the people of Charleston, we don’t care about you! We do not care that someone used this symbol of hate to slay eight innocent people who were worshiping their God.
I'm sorry. I have heard enough about heritage. I have a heritage. I am a lifelong South Carolinian. I am a descendent of Jefferson Davis, okay? But that does not matter. It's not about Jenny Horne! It's about the people of South Carolina who have demanded that this symbol of hate come off of the Statehouse grounds.
And I will tell you I do know, and I have it on good authority that the world is watching this debate and there is an economic development prospect in Dorchester county that is in jeopardy, because we refuse to act. We need to follow the example of the Senate. Remove this flag and do it today! Because this issue is not getting any better with age!
UDATE II: And as a reminder of just how contentious this debate is, here's what anyone speaking out on this issue and asking that the flag be taken down is putting up with. As NBC reported, they're getting death threats: S.C. Legislators Getting Death Threats Over Confederate Flag Debate:
State investigators are looking into numerous death threats against South Carolina legislators as they debate whether to pull a Confederate battle flag down from the state capital grounds, authorities said Wednesday.
"Legislators on both sides of the issue have received communications that include death threats," Mark Keel, chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement. "We recognize the First Amendment protections offered for free speech. That's not what this is about."
House members continued deliberating well into the night on a Senate bill that would remove the banner and the pole where it flies. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag to be removed after the fatal shootings of nine people at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week in Charleston, including its pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Read on...