Objecting to the tearing down of these monuments does not make one a Nazi, or a racist, or even passingly unreasonable, much as Trump’s adversaries wish it were so. “Who’s next?” is the right question. Is it so unthinkable, in this climate, that the mob will soon descend on Monticello? Is that scenario any less plausible than it would have seemed five years ago that objecting to transgender bathrooms would be broadly regarded as evidence of moral depravity? This is the way America changes these days—rapidly and thoughtlessly.
And the media is the key to it all, as was never clearer than at yesterday’s Trump press conference and in commentators’ reactions to even the most reasonable public statements. For CNN vice president and assistant general counsel Johnita Due, Virginia governor Terry McCauliffe’s remarks condemning white nationalists were not enough, for they also included kind words for Washington and Jefferson. “I felt punched in the stomach,” she wrote. “At a time when it is important to condemn white nationalists and supremacists unequivocally, invoking Thomas Jefferson is a mistake.”