Denial Is the Heartbeat of America
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When have Americans been willing to admit who we are?
By Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic
“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are,” President-elect Joe Biden said during Wednesday’s siege.
“The behavior we witnessed in the U.S. Capitol is entirely un-American,” read a statement from a bipartisan and bicameral group of elected officials that included Senators Joe Manchin, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Mark Warner as well as Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Tom Reed.
“We’re the United States of America. We disagree on a lot of things, and we have a lot of spirited debate … But we talk it out, and we honor each other—even in our disagreement,” said Senator James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma. “And while we disagree on things—and disagree strongly at times—we do not encourage what happened today. Ever.”
“That’s not who we are,” Senator Ben Sasse said.
“This is not the America I know and love,” Representative Brenda Lawrence said.
“I know this is not our America,” Representative Ed Case said.
“This is not who we are,” Representative Nancy Mace said.
“This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic—not our democratic republic,” Republican former President George W. Bush said.
“This is a national tragedy and is not who we are as a nation,” Democratic former President Jimmy Carter said…
To say that the attack on the U.S. Capitol is not who we are is to say that this is not part of us, not part of our politics, not part of our history. And to say that this is not part of America, American politics, and American history is a bald-faced denial. But the denial is normal. In the aftermath of catastrophes, when have Americans commonly admitted who we are? The heartbeat of America is denial…
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