In recent years, debates over the appropriateness of public monuments celebrating Confederate figures have become increasingly common. Along with exposing deep racial divides, these debates have brought to light historical attitudes and structures built on enduring notions of white supremacy.
While generally taking place in local contexts, they have ramifications that concern all Americans.
South Carolina did it. It removed a “permanently” raised Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. Now the leaders of the National Cathedral have a decision to make: Will the Jackson-Lee windows—windows extolling the Christian faith and virtue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and featuring images of the Confederate flag—stay or go?
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.