Given the emotional aftermath of the South Carolina church shooting that left nine people dead in a racially-motivated attack, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been asked about whether or not the Confederate flag that flies above the South Carolina statehouse. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who served two terms as governor of Florida, actually dealt with this issue 14 years ago. In February 2001, then-Governor Bush ordered that the Confederate flag that flew in Tallahassee at the state capitol be taken down.
After the action was taken, a Bush spokeswoman stated that the move was done as a way to stop division among blacks, who universally supported the flag’s removal, and some whites, who wanted it to remain.
Some critics charged that Bush was placating blacks who had felt disenfranchised by the then-recent controversial Supreme Court ruling that effectively gave the Presidency to Bush’s brother, George.Florida had been the focal point of the litigation surrounding the election, with the Court eventually ruling in favor of George W. Bush, who won the state by a mere 537 votes.
There was criticism for Bush’s decision about the flag, with John Adams, a division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, saying that he was betrayed by the decision. Adams’ biggest complaint was the fact that there had been no push to remove the flag prior to Bush’s decision. Just days after the tragedy occurred in South Carolina, it may take a while before any such legislation is proposed.