Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have a messaging problem: They can't decide whether Americans are a bunch of bigots or people of good will. That ambiguity pervaded the Democratic National Convention (DNC), culminating in Biden's acceptance speech for the party's 2020 presidential nomination. Though the targets of the Democrats' "systemic racism" charge meekly accept the accusation, the charge has consequences for how the country will be governed should the White House change hands in November.
Political tradition requires office-seekers to sing the praises of their fellow countrymen and to declare their love of country. The DNC speakers largely followed that tradition—when they were not gutting it. America is a "great nation," Biden said on Thursday night, adding also that "we are a good and decent people." Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris asked God to bless the America that "we love." Former First Lady Michelle Obama had come to the podium, she said, "because I love this country with all my heart." She invoked the "goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation."
But it turns out that this "good and decent people," in Biden's words, has never wiped "the stain of racism from our national character." America has yet to "do the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism," Biden declared.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. Follow her on Twitter here.
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