Some conservatives have seen efforts to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and also from other public places around the South, as the beginning of a slippery slope in which roads and landmarks named after Confederate figures are changed, monuments are removed, and a significant part of American history is obscured from view.
That was a strange week, with intersecting conversations between and among Americans trying to absorb mind-crashing events that fed high and lowbrow attitudes, populist and patrician criticisms, sophisticated and naive pronouncements. There were absurdities and abominations, a massacre and amazing grace. Politics was writ large, accompanied by the rumble of rhetoric shaped to fit the emotional tyranny of the moment rather than great truths of the past.
Last week we saw an encouraging sign that the 50 year cold war between the U.S. and Cuba was finally coming to an end. President Obama announced on Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba would restore full diplomatic relations and that embassies could be re-opened in each country by the end of the month.
HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver resurrected piles of news footage on the fact that women are harassed on the Internet.