Political power generally requires support in numbers. Even the most tyrannical regimes—Nazi Germany, communist Russia, communist China—came to power on the shoulders of passionate citizens mobilized for the cause. And what can mobilize people? Narratives that stir emotion.
Over the past decades, there has been an effort to rewrite U.S. history, pulling important figures out of their historical context, recasting conflicts as grave injustices, and labeling the sins of our forebears as uniquely American sins (as opposed to common sins found throughout the world at the time) deserving of targeted retribution today.
This spin on history has fomented disdain for the United States as an entity, particularly among the younger generation of its citizens. Perhaps, that’s intentional.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more dominant narratives that have arisen from this reframing of history, how they may be built on false pretenses, and how they might fuel divisive political debate, as well as violence in the streets.