Lots of nations have mythologies built around their founders. Hell, Romans believed Rome was founded by two twin brothers, descended from the gods, who were sucked by a she-wolf as children. I think that story needs a fact-check or five, but if you think a nation is great, you’re inclined to think that every part of it is Good, Noble, and Decent, right down to its founding. Had the Nazi’s won WWII, five hundred years later history books would paint them as spreading civilization, freedom, and democracy across the globe.

Like Rome, we have our own foundation myths. Popular mythos is that America was founded on the purest, truest love of freedom and democracy anyone has seen since, well, God. Sure, there were little minor blips, like slavery, but the Founding Fathers meant well. But in real life, this country was, in fact, founded on the most massive (and successful) genocide the world has ever known, among the largest systems of slavery (and perhaps the most brutal) in human history, and originally this country was designed to disallow the vote to women and non-propertied men (and every non-white person, of course). By design. But instead of facing it critically, and seeing things for what they are, why can’t we acknowledge the weaknesses and atrocities of the past, so we can have a bright future?

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