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John D. Rockefeller IV

GOP's awkward silence over Confederate flag furor

GOP's awkward silence over Confederate flag furor

The time has come for fair-minded Republicans to reflect upon the fate of the Whig Party, which came apart at the seams on the eve of the Civil War. The overriding issue of the 1850s was slavery, a question to which the party spoke, as it were, out of both sides of its mouth. Northern Whigs, who opposed slavery, decamped to the new Republican Party. Southern Whigs, who supported slavery, joined the Democratic Party. The analogous problem today is our continuing failure to erase the stain of slavery and segregation. Consider the awkward reactions of leading Republicans to South Carolina's Capitol flying the Confederate flag — a favorite symbol of Dylann Roof, the suspect in the...