I wrote last week about the plea for Obama to end the practice of sending the wreath to the Confederate War memorial on Memorial Day and I assumed that he would send it rather than ignite a culture war skirmish. (My thesis was that ending the practice this would have to be a Nixon goes to China thing --- a white southern Republican would have to do it.)
Obama did send the wreath as predicted, but didn't just leave it there:
Last week, a group of university professors petitioned the White House to end a longstanding practice of sending a wreath to a monument to Confederate soldiers on the cemetery grounds. Mr. Obama continued that tradition but started another, the White House said, by sending a second wreath across the Potomac River to the historically black neighborhood in Washington where the African-American Civil War Memorial commemorates more than 200,000 blacks who fought for the North in the Civil War.
Some of us would like the Lost Cause mythology to be retired altogether, but this is a creative and non-confrontational way to get at the underlying issues that make so much of that mythology toxic. It gives black Civil War veterans equal footing with the confederate soldiers --- which puts out the racists among the Southern Heritage types (who like to pretend it isn't about race) and doesn't bother the non-racist southerners at all. It's vintage Obama at his best. Very clever.