Statement tonight from Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office:

Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued a proclamation ordering the flag of the State of Arkansas to be flown at half-staff on June 26, 2015 to coincide with the funeral service of Reverend Clementa Pinckney and in memory of the other eight victims of the horrific acts of violence that occurred at the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Well. That’s nice. It’s better than Hutchinson’s equivocal remarks about the Confederate flag. You remember: He said that to some people it’s a symbol. To others, “it’s history.” Indeed. A history of slavery and, in his own state, repeated support for slavery at the secession convention from people up to the governor. In 1861, Gov. Henry Rector said the issue was slavery, period. The rest was window dressing.

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Hutchinson has the touch, apparently. A Bob Jones U. grad who came up at a place where interracial dating was banned and who refuses to flatly acknowledge the ill of Confederate flag symbolism, can get away with seeming “moderate” by lowering flags for a day for a black elected official slain by a racist who wrapped himself in a Confederate battle flag Hutchinson can’t bring himself to consign to the refuse bin.

Will Hutchinson also defend the Robert E. Lee holiday? Do you really need to ask? Some people think it’s a symbol. To others, it’s merely “history.”  That it was a product of a South-shall-rise-again culture is of no moment to the Republican base that Asa slavishly serves.

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