The flag outside the South Carolina capital may be coming down, but there are far tougher issues that re-emerged there. 

Charleston mayor Joseph Riley had a message not terribly popular in his home state. "It is insane, the number of guns and the ease of getting guns in America. It just doesn't fit with the other achievements of this country," said Riley. 

Please don't say no law would have stopped the killer in South Carolina. You may be right, but so is the mayor and our mayor that there are just too many guns. Is it true that if Washington did nothing after 20 children were murdered in Newtown, they'll never do anything on the issue? Maybe they'll surprise us and grow a collective spine. 

Then there are some of the men who want to lead our nation, but can't let the word "racism" cross their lips when talking of the killing of nine black people by a young white supremacist. 

They're not alone in their discomfort with discussions about race.

There was a national orgy of self congratulations when we talked nonstop about a damaged white woman in Spokane who pretended she was black, while her damaged parents said she was not. That, we can talk about. But can we ever have a real discussion about the racial divide in this country? Apart from ridding the capital of that symbol of racial hatred, as Mitt Romney called it, can we really fix anything else?