Down With The Confederate Flag, Up With Donald Trump!

Roundup
tags: Confederate flag, Donald Trump



Rick Perlstein is the national correspondent for the The Washington Spectator, where this article first appeared. His most recent book is "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan."

Suddenly, with a single flap of the Angel of History’s wings, America has experienced a shuddering change: the American swastika has finally become toxic—a liberation that last month seemed so impossible that we’d forgotten to bother to think about it.

One doesn’t waste energy worrying over the fact that America controls over 700 military bases in 63 countries and maintains a military presence in 156; or that Israel has staged a civilian-slaughtering war approximately every other year since 2006; or that in America there is no constitutionally guaranteed right to vote or that unregulated pyramid schemes fleece Middle Americans out of $10 to $20 billion a year or that a private organization runs our presidential debates, sponsored by the same corporations that underwrite Democratic conventions … on and on and on: permanent annoyances.

Like the Confederate flag.

People Can Change?

While ignorant or insensate bitter-enders will continue to screech, there’s no going back: This thing is toxic even to Republican backbenchers. You could see that on Capitol Hill last week: late Wednesday night, Republicans sedulously repealed a Democratic amendment banning this flag of treason against the U.S. government from U.S. cemeteries. Dozens of Democrats then stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the House floor to all but accuse their colleagues across the aisle of evil. (Imagine the impossibility of them doing the same on, say, gun control.) The Republicans, embarrassed, backtracked—and the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) issued a statement disclaiming responsibility, blaming his leadership instead. (Wedge issue!)

Or watch the awe-inspiring speech of the Republican South Carolina state representative who burst into tears, begging her party-mates to finally come to their senses: “I have heard enough about heritage. I have a heritage. I am a life-long South Carolinian. I am a descendant of Jefferson Davis, okay? But that does not matter!”

So, progress, right? The Republican Party, or at least more of it than we ever would have dreamed, abandoning yesteryear’s bigotry, proving that progress is possible: people can change.

Right? ...




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