Cameron Todd Willingham

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I don't much care that the Willingham case won't deep-six Rick Perry. That kind of cynical utilitarianism has never been my bag. Frederick Douglass couldn't stop Jim Crow or achieve universal suffrage either. But we live in Douglass's America, not Bobby Lee's.


In this long battle, in this longer war for a more informed citizenry, and thus a more responsible political class, Willingham should not be forgotten. Activists, agitators, writers and thinkers who measure their efforts by presidential cycles should take up another business. This is no place for fast food intellectuals.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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