Following in the footsteps of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds, Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the state will begin to phase out vehicle license plates featuring the offending flag.
The specialty vehicle license plates are for a group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal also announced on Tuesday that his state will be seeking a redesign of the group’s plates — which in his state feature the battle flag as the background.
On Monday, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn also stated that the Confederate emblem has no business being on their state flag.
Meanwhile, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Sears, Etsy, and eBay have all vowed to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise as well, despite booming sales.
“We have decided to prohibit Confederate flags, and many items containing this image, because we believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism,” an eBay spokesperson told CNN explaining their decision.
The news that major retailers will stop selling the flag, which for many serves as a reminder of the US’ history of black slavery, has prompted a sudden surge in sales.
On Tuesday, the Stars and Bars had made its way into all three top spots of Amazon’s biggest sales gainers in the previous 24 hours, with a 3’x5’ flag selling for $1.80 jumping over 3,620% in sales.
The Washington Post editorial board on Monday put out a piece standing behind Governor Haley in her call for removal of the Confederate flag. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post.
“The message it sends is clear — and directly in contrast to the lessons of tolerance and forgiveness that the people of Charleston have been teaching the nation since last week’s atrocity,” the editorial stated.
It isn’t just retailers who are running quickly from the controversial symbol of racism. Rebel flag producers are also standing in solidarity and vowing to stop production.
"We hope that this decision will show our support for those affected by the recent events in Charleston and, in some small way, help to foster racial unity and tolerance in our country," Flag maker Valley Forge wrote in a statement on Tuesday, which accompanied their announcement that the company would no longer produce the flags in their product line.
It would seem the times are changing, with many conceding that clinging to an offensive flag out of respect for those lost in a war that ended 150 years ago should not outweigh respect for communities alive and well in the US today.