Over the summer of 2015, the argument over displaying the Confederate flag in public grounds galvanized public opinion. Many conservative Southern Republicans agreed that such displays contradict our basic principles and publicly endorse bigotry. Even South Carolina, birthplace of secession, relented on the Confederate flag.
That argument swiftly metastasized into a full-throated uproar over public statues and place names that honor people whose earlier prejudices ill suit our self-image as nation that blends many peoples together. Even the New York Times, the official explainer of our lives, has christened this year a “purge moment,” one when Americans have begun to rummage through their psycho-historical closet and toss out their emotional bell-bottom trousers and other squirmy artifacts of earlier eras.