Washington, Missouri, until a few weeks ago, was blessedly free from the progressive currents electrifying the cities of the coasts and the upper Midwest. An eavesdropping visitor would have found Democrats sitting cheek to jowl with Republicans, talking in mild midwestern tones—as though civility mattered more than “conviction.” If someone had proposed tearing down a statue or clogging the street with a political demonstration, a typical response would have been: “What’s wrong with that guy?”

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