In the wake of the horrific racially-motivated shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, John Oliver had a few suggestions for what to do with the Confederate flag.
On Last Week Tonight, he pointed out that in the wake of the tragic murders, the U.S. flag was lowered to half-mast, while the Confederate battle flag was still flying at full-staff in front of the state Capitol. As any American history student can tell you, the flag has a divisive history, which Oliver summed up this way: “I believe the first time the Confederate flag was used in a racist way was the very first time they sewed the first one.”
Oliver did mention that lowering the Confederate flag to half-mast in South Carolina is pretty complicated, requiring a 2/3 majority vote in the state legislature. (“Even they thought 3/5 was a bit too on the nose.”) For Oliver, though, the question wasn’t why the flag wasn’t lowered in recognition of the tragedy, but why it was flying 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,” he said.
Oliver had a suggestion for what to do with the flag, if the legislature did vote to lower it. “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,” said Oliver. “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.”