Nelson Mandela: Sheriff’s Department in SC Refuses to Lower Flag

    December 8, 2013
    Erika Watts
    Comments are off for this post.

Nelson Mandela’s death last week seemed to unify people around the world as leaders from many nations mourned the great man’s passing. Even on Facebook, there are still posts popping up in the asking people to take a moment to remember the former South African president. President Obama issued an executive order to fly flags at half-staff, something that doesn’t happen very often for non U.S. citizens. Most people were happy to comply, with the exception of a sheriff’s department in South Carolina. According to the sheriff there, if you aren’t a U.S. citizen, he won’t lower his flag for you.

President Obama ordered flags to be flown at half-staff from December 6 until sunset on December 9. Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark announced that he wouldn’t lower the flag at his sheriff’s office on Facebook:

I usually don’t post political items, but today is different. I received this notification today, “As a mark of respect for the memory of Nelson Mandela, the President orders that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff effective immediately until sunset, December 9, 2013”

Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!! The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here. Our flag is at half staff today for a Deputy in the low country who died going to help his fellow Deputy. He deserves the honor. I have ordered that the flag here at my office back up after tomorrow’s mourning of Pearl Harbor Day!

Clark told The Greenville News that while he would lower the sheriff department’s flag to half-staff for Pearl Harbor Day, that he wouldn’t lower it for Nelson Mandela. He added to his Facebook post by saying “The flag at half-staff is for Americans’ ultimate sacrifice for our country. We should never stray away from that.”

While many people are outraged with Clark for refusing to lower the flag to half-staff, the Federal Flag Code doesn’t “prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions.”

What do you think of the situation–is the South Carolina sheriff right to refuse to honor international leaders in this way? Add your comments below. As you can see from the Twitter posts below, many people are furious with Clark’s decision.

[Image via WikiMedia Commons]
  • Nonsense

    It is the South. What do you expect? The South keeps their prisons full for profit. Slavery was moved from the fields to the prisons. Go to Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee. Go look. Prison industries are huge. Incarceration rates and sentences are out of control in the South. In fact, Georgia has the highest rate of arrest and incarceration of any place in the entire WORLD let alone the United States.

    I am white too — don’t go thinking I am black. I am sorry the South is just backwards. They don’t do what is right and this has nothing to do with Mandela not being an American.

    The South has no class. The just can’t do a humane or right thing. What the hell would it have hurt? Nothing.

  • GBO

    The South is the greatest part of this country. That is why it continues to grow in population & industry. South Carolina and any other state has the right to tell the Federal Government to “put it where the sun don’t shine”! As a “natural born Southerner” we encourage the less educated, socialist, federal government butt kissers to stay away! As far as prisons, you break the law, you go to jail, OMG, what a revelation! I have lived, worked (professionally), raised a family and NEVER seen the inside of ANY jail. So your opinion of the South sends me to the final line in a great old movie (based on the war between the states, which was NOT a civil war by definition nor started over slaverly) “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
    Have a great life where you are……..please stay there!

    • Ok

      The south grows only because it is warm and the weather is good. Give Colorado an ocean and warm temperatures – well people would flock to it.

      It is corrupt to the core. I have lived here for 25 years. Don’t worry about the face you never been in a jail — I assure you that someone in your family will. The South incarcerates more people than any other place in the world.

      The “natural born Southerner” is the less educated. The school systems suck down in the south. My God, don’t you even read about these things.

      Yes, you bring up what every redneck southerner brings up. The civil war. Cling to the civil war. The South will rise again. God wants there to be slavery. Gotta pick some cotton for massa.

      Please don’t give me your revisionist history about the civil war. The core issue was slavery. Don’t give me this bullshit about state rights. The southern states wanted the right to own people. Freaking idiot.

      I am white too so don’t think I am black.

    • @GBO

      I once had a conversation with a Southerner and he was convinced the South would rise again. He talked about the Civil War in the present tense. The civil war was 150 years ago. That is how crazy the people are. It is like they never got over it. The South is crazy and like the other guy said — the only reason people move there is the weather and with population movements comes jobs. If Maine averaged 90 degrees, everyone would move there. It isn’t because of the “culture”. Doubt what I say. Go to the south. Stay for a while. People will be nice to your face and behind your back they will rip you …oh and yes….. you will hear about how the Civil War is still going on and eventually the South will rise again.

  • Dwayne

    I am torn between the rights of a U.S. citizen and the honoring of one of the greatest human beings in recorded history. While people world-round know that Nelson Mandela is most likely the man with the most profound impact on human rights in the 20th century, I have to wonder about the statement being made by the sheriff that makes lowering our national flag to recognize mourning of a dignitary here in our country. Should it be mandatory? I am thinking that, no, it shouldn’t. Should we all want to? Yes, we should. We as a nation of many cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and social classification, have faced this issue more than we ever should have, and I am for the “rights” that we as U.S. are supposed to have, and one of those are freedom of speech. Don’t confuse the moral issue with any other. Let the sheriff make his stand, and we will still lower our flags for this great man.

  • Ron Avallone

    “Ignorant people add to ignorance ” If you actually listen to Sheriff Clark you’ll hear his praise. And this is America where this flag rises and falls for americans. So, if you’re not a vet, leo or american shut up!