Every year on Independence Day, we celebrate the fact that the past is not past, coming together as a nation to celebrate the past, to revere the past, to honor the collective ideals upon which our nation was founded. We pay tribute to the ideals of freedom and liberty and remember that "all men are created equal."
Doing away with official reverence for the Confederate battle flag is largely a symbolic move that doesn't come close to addressing the problems surrounding race in America, including disparities in treatment by the criminal justice system and the resurgence of voter suppression laws and other schemes designed to rig the elections in favor of powerful conservative interests.
When the disillusioned 21-year-old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, the tragedy quickly focused on the legacy of the Confederate flag and its tacit endorsement of racism. For presidential candidates courting southern conservatives, this called for high-wire political acts.