Republicans should worry more about what’s right for the country than their own electoral futures.
On a business trip down South some years ago, I checked into the hotel and emailed my wife, who was back in New York. “When the GPS tells you to take Jefferson Davis Highway to Stonewall Jackson Boulevard and hang a left,” I wrote, “you know you’re a long way from home.”
Yes, the U.S. is a big country, and in some parts of it the defeat of the Confederacy is still a touchy subject, alas. Still, I’m inclined to believe that most Americans were appalled last week at the image of a man with a large Confederate battle flag strolling down the halls of the Capitol while a mob of Trump supporters were ransacking the place.
Since the 1960s, that flag has symbolized, among other things, opposition to civil rights for blacks. For many, it brings to mind white hoods, burning crosses and lynch mobs. In 2015, Justice Clarence Thomas, a product of the Jim Crow South, joined liberals to cast the deciding vote in a case that affirmed Texas’ refusal to print the Confederate flag on the state’s license plates. Yet its brandishing last week recalled what the flag originally stood for: insurrection.
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