South Carolina Sheriff Rick Clark is openly disobeying a presidential order that asks flags be lowered to half-staff in memorial of Nelson Mandela’s death. Why is Clark against honoring a man admired around the world for his triumph over the horrors of South African apartheid? The sheriff from South Carolina’s Pickens County says that because Mandela was not American, he does not deserve the half-staff treatment.
The South Carolina sheriff says that despite an order from President Obama, he will make sure the flag is fully raised on Sunday, reports USA Today. It is at half-staff Friday, Sheriff Clark explains, to honor a fallen deputy. It will also be at half-staff on Saturday to honor the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Though Obama’s order asks all public buildings to keep the flag lowered through sunset on Monday, Clark plans to defiantly raise the flag back to the top of the staff on Sunday.
The controversial announcement was made on Facebook via a status update written on Sheriff Rick Clark’s page. While he concedes that Mandela was a “brave man” he “was not an American!” Below is a screen capture of Clark’s post, courtesy of Mediaite:
One might expect Clark’s declaration to be met with outraged comments, but instead many posted their support for the South Carolina sheriff’s decision. Below are just a few of the comments agreeing with Clark, also courtesy of Mediaite:
According to KTLA-TV, Sheriff Rick Clark later added a comment on his Facebook post saying that “there will be no negative post on here about President Mandela.” However, Clark says he stands by his plan to disobey the flag order. “It is about the people who gave the sacrifice for the USA. Nothing more nothing less.”
The South Carolina sheriff’s decision will place him in a minority as flags around the world, not just in the US, are lowered to half-staff to honor Thursday’s passing of Nelson Mandela.