Today’s outrage culture insists that everyone who holds a view that’s different from our own is not just mistaken. They must be evil and shunned. That’s wrong. I know too many good people in South Carolina who think differently about the flag but who are not the least bit racist.
The tragedy of all of this is that it makes compromise far less possible.
When I was working hard to encourage the South Carolina General Assembly to vote in favor of removing the flag, I met privately with the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives. In that meeting, I told them about the discrimination my family faced when I was a young girl growing up in rural South Carolina. My father, as an immigrant from India who wears a turban, was not always welcomed in shops and community events. It was painful. I made the case that no child should feel unwelcomed at our state capitol because the Confederate battle flag was flying there. A large majority of Republican legislators ended up voting in favor of removing the flag.
Today’s outrage culture would instead have made the case that everyone who respects the Confederate flag is an evil racist. Not only is that untrue; but more to the point, if I had tried to make that argument, the flag would never have come down. As Hillary Clinton has learned, calling people “deplorable” is not the best way to win their support.