Listening to The 1619 Project has been eye-opening, and it has inspired some new understandings of our nation.
Like the fact that America is a recovering white-supremacy addict.
I’ve never heard it framed that way, but it seems to fit our national identity perfectly.
Just like a drug or alcohol addict, America will always be a white-supremacy addict, and it must always resist the urges and avoid the opportunities to relapse. This is difficult, because so many of our citizens – think of them as cells of the national body, or disparate thoughts within the national mind – still long to chase the high of the white-supremacy fix (whatever that may be). They urge us to embrace our worst tendencies and move backward. Fortunately – though there are many shades of belief in between – there are far more right-minded citizens, far more healthy cells, far more sane, self-respecting thoughts in the national body and mind than diseased ones.
But still, the disease must be recognized and reckoned with. And just like any addict, America must be honest about itself, its shortcomings, and its addiction, and must seek forgiveness and make amends for past wrongs.
Not because America is bad – no person, and no nation, is defined solely by its worst decisions, however terrible they may be. But because the only way for America to fulfill its shining promise is to be fully self-aware and brutally honest about what it is and has been. Because only in that way can it root out and fight against the tragic shortcomings that have always prevented it from becoming what it has, for too long, lied to itself about being already.
In this way, someday, America can still hope to make that beautiful lie a reality.