June 23, 2015

Sanchez, McCamley share thoughts on Confederate flag

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Confederate battle flag flying in front of the South Carolina capitol building. Photo Credit: Jason Lander cc

Some New Mexico politicians have weighed in on the controversy over flying of the Confederate battle flag. The debate was reignited after the murder of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina.

Confederate battle flag flying in front of the South Carolina capitol building. Photo Credit: Jason Lander cc

Confederate battle flag flying in front of the South Carolina capitol building.
Photo Credit: Jason Lander cc

Dylann Roof, who has reportedly admitted to the killings, was pictured with the Confederate battle flag in his manifesto where he spoke of white supremacy. Just days after the shooting, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said that she believed the Confederate battle flag should no longer fly in front of the State House building.

Now, other states are considering actions related to the Confederate flag, including not allowing drivers licenses with the image. This was allowed by a recent Supreme Court decision which said the state of Texas could deny drivers licenses with the image because it could be offensive to others.

Supporters of the flag say it is a symbol of their heritage. Opponents say it represents racism and treason.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, took to Twitter to express his support for Haley’s action and express his hope that the South Carolina Legislature would go along with the removal of the flag.

State Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, frequently uses Facebook for discussions with constituents and others. He brought up the issue on Tuesday on his page.

“Yes, for some people it is a symbol of pride in heritage,” McCamley wrote. “But, as valiant and well meaning as some of the people who fought in the Civil War were, they were defending a government that was not only based on the ownership of people but that committed treason against this country. After the recent shooting in that state, where the murderer used the flag as a symbol of his abhorrent racism, there is no reason to keep it as symbol to be proudly flown in this nation.”

McCamley compared the flag to the New Mexico State University yearbook. Up until 1983, the school’s yearbook was called the Swastika, after the ancient Zuni symbol. However, the school made the change because of the symbol’s connection to Nazi Germany.

The yearbook is now known as the Phoenix.

New Mexico does not have much of a history with the Confederate battle flag. While there was a battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862, it was a relatively small battle when compared to those further east.

In 2012, the Las Cruces Tea Party displayed the Confederate battle flag on a float during the city’s Electric Light Parade, saying it was part of the state’s history.