Beto O’Rourke has taken the measure of America and found it wanting.
“This country, though we would like to think otherwise,” he intoned last weekend, “was founded on racism, has persisted through racism and is racist today.”
This is now a mainstream sentiment in the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders said earlier this year that the United States was “created” in large part “on racist principles.”
The New York Times has begun its so-called 1619 Project, marking the 400th anniversary of the importation of slaves from Africa.
The series seeks nothing less than “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
It is certainly true that an American nation existed prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and slavery was its great sin, with permutations still felt today. But to pretend that racism is the essence of America and constituted one of the country’s founding principles is an odious and reductive lie.