Trump’s speech was aggressive, painting his political opponents in the least charitable light possible, seeking to exacerbate—not bridge—the country’s divisions one day before its 244th birthday. [i.e. it was not the great speech with mediocre delivery that Rod Dreher and others are claiming.] But the address was not the outwardly racist screed the Washington Post and New York Times’ news write-ups made it out to be, either.

But the president’s dramatic retelling of the American story was an abridged version, with all of the bumps and contours of history sanded away. It was less a speech about American exceptionalism than it was about American flawlessness. King’s embrace of the Founders’ promissory note” was included, but his assertion that the United States had defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned”—the next line in his I Have A Dream’ speech—didn’t make the cut. Thomas Jefferson was referred to as the author of American freedom,” not the owner of more than 600 slaves. [Most years, such balance would be jarring, but this year it was obligatory.]

The Morning Dispatch: Grappling With Our Nation’s History - The Morning Dispatch

July 6, 2020

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