The four front-runners for the presidency are following what has become a political pattern: candor when there are no votes to be lost, extreme caution when votes are at risk. This pattern of choosing expediency over courage is in plain view in the current debate over a Confederate flag and a Cuban child. The two issues have an obvious solution—send them back where they belong. When politicians avoid that solution with double-talk, it is an embarrassment to democracy.
The Confederate battle flag—which is not the flag of the Confederacy—was placed on the dome of the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1962 as a symbolic statement of defiance during the civil rights struggle. The flag was not raised to honor the Confederacy nor to remember those who died in its defense. It is now an ugly reminder of a time when racial strife divided the nation.