Hillsborough votes to remove Confederate Flag

click to enlarge Obviously this is not the Fred B. Karl Center lobby, but this is the type of flag that flew. You get the picture. - Flickr user J. Stephen Conn
Flickr user J. Stephen Conn
Obviously this is not the Fred B. Karl Center lobby, but this is the type of flag that flew. You get the picture.

The Hillsborough County Commission decide Wednesday to simultaneously set off widespread praise and blind rage when it voted, unanimously, to take down the Confederate flag that somehow still hangs at the Fred B. Karl County Center.

The flag, according to the Tampa Tribune's Mike Salinero, is on display as part of a compromise 20 years ago that removed the Confederate flag from the County Seal. Because, seriously, it was on the County effing Seal.

The flag that has been on display in the lobby of the otherwise modern building ever since isn't the Confederate flag we all know and love, but the third national flag of the Confederacy (Confederate states didn't realize that maybe they should all have the same flag).

The thought, however flimsy, was that the flag could fly alongside all of the other national flags that flew over Tampa, like Spain and Great Britain, which, unlike the Confederacy, were actual nations, not rebellious factions.

Government buildings that display the banner have been in the spotlight ever since a white supremacist gunman shot nine in an African-American church last month.

Airwaves and internet tubes have since been filled with banter over whether it should stay or go on properties paid for by money collected from taxpayers, some of them descendants of slaves.

Supporters of flying the flag will scream until they're blotchy in the face about how the flag is about history and Southern

click to enlarge Just have a look at the lower left-hand corner. - screen grab, tampa bay times archives
screen grab, tampa bay times archives
Just have a look at the lower left-hand corner.
 heritage, even though the flag didn't become popular until pro-segregationists and the white supremacists that spawned church shooter Dylann Roof began to display it in the middle of the 20th Century.

Those who condemn it, obviously, see it as a symbol of hatred.

It's no surprise Hillsborough County would be having such a debate. Its eastern reaches are rural and to the north, conservative exurbs dominate. Contrasting those white and largely Republican areas at its southeastern edge is Tampa, a cosmopolitan and diverse city that tends toward progressive values.

It's also no surprise that a key holdout in the debate over whether to take it down was Commissioner Stacy White, who represents the county's eastern portions and said he worried taking the flag down would be tantamount to "erasing history," according to the Tampa Tribune.

To Commissioner Les Miller, the only African American currently on the County Commission, the flag was a painful symbol of what Confederate flag-loving people's ancestors did to his ancestors.

“This flag to me hurts,” Miller said, after pausing to wipe away tears. “It’s going to the history museum, it’s going to a place where people can go there and read about all of the confederate flags and about what it means to this country.”

All five flags will be removed Thursday and taken to the Tampa Bay History Center.

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