In the week since a gunman shot and killed nine people inside an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., the future of the Confederate flag in public spaces has become a flashpoint of debate. And increasingly, it appears it could come down in many places.
And with so many public figures denouncing the flag, we thought it important to point out that the flag has long had its defenders. Some have remained silent this week. But others have fervently defended the flag.
At the same time, they have offered many different reasons and haven't really presented a united front, which -- in addition to them being outnumbered -- has made their cause suffer.
Here's who is still defending it, and the reasons they give.
My/our ancestors fought and died under this flag
Former senator Jim Webb (D), a likely presidential candidate (one note: Webb hasn't said publicly whether the flag should be removed from public spaces)
Our heritage is under attack
Charles Kelly Barrow, Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
The opposition doesn’t understand our history of the South or the meaning of the Confederate flag
Ann Coulter, conservative commentator
Ben Jones, a former U.S. congressman and Democrat from Georgia who now lives in Tennessee. Jones is also an actor who played the role of “Cooter” on “The Dukes of Hazard," which prominently featured the flag on top of the General Lee.
The Confederate flag is no different than any other artifact
There’s no connection between the shooting and the flag
We settled this in 2000 with a compromise that moved the flag from the capitol dome
It's too soon after the tragedy to debate the future of the flag
You defeat racism with love, not politics