To the editor:
Sept. 17, 2020: President Trump at the National Archives: “We want our sons and daughters to know they are citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world. To grow up in America is to live in a land where anything is possible, where anyone can rise and where any dream can come true, all because of the immortal principles of our nation’s founders inscribed nearly two and a half centuries ago . . . I will soon sign an executive order establishing a national commission to promote patriotic education. It will be called the 1776 Commission.”
Jan. 25, 2021: President Biden at the White House: “I’ll be reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion . . . That’s why I’m rescinding the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training and abolished the offensive counterfactual 1776 commission. Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance, and lies.”
“Harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training” is Biden’s characterization of Trump’s Sept. 4 executive order banning “critical race theory” training in federal agencies. An independent reporter had uncovered CRT indoctrination in federal departments. Trump banned it. Biden rescinded Trump’s ban.
Biden also abolished Trump’s 1776 Commission. But not before it issued, on Jan. 18, “The 1776 Report.” I read it, reread it, filled the margins with notes. It’s a thoughtful 20 pages.
"The 1776 Report," available in various formats, also has 20 pages of valuable appendices. “Appendix III: Created Equal or Identity Politics” is of some urgency. It summarizes the origins and principles of identity politics/critical race theory. It’s needed because CRT is becoming American institutional orthodoxy.
There will be no promotion of patriotic education any time soon. Elections have consequences. Instead, expect more initiatives of this nature: “Biden administration offers grants to teach children '1619 Project,' inherent racism central to U.S.” (Washington Times, April 21)
As 1776 patriots took heart in Thomas Paine’s stirring language, so in our own “times that try men's souls,” 2021 patriots can take courage from "The 1776 Report." It’s a counterweight — to twisted logic imposed by a ruling class both mad for power and dangerously inept.
Victor Davis Hanson, historian and commission member, on the report’s unifying message:
“... we are a people blessed with a singular government and history, that self-critique and moral improvement are innate to the American founding and spirit, and that America never had to be perfect to be both good and far better than the alternatives.”