Does the attack on American democracy represent America? Is the violence, racism and authoritarianism of Trump’s rioters the “real” America? The spirit of American Exceptionalism would say “no,” at least not any more. But America’s history — its recent past and current dynamics — might say otherwise.
For most of our history, we have been a nation pretending to be a democracy but directed by the undemocratic violence of slavery and segregation. We have been a living contradiction. We have been a living double-standard. And we are not free from the hypocrisy. History has caught up with us and it is a time for reckoning, not a time for healing.