Just in time to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the Trump administration has released a report reminding all Americans that today’s identity politics is strangling the vision the Founders had for our nation.
In his call for “patriotic education” last year, President Donald Trump just before the 2020 election formed The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. The panel’s purpose was to re-examine the nation’s founding principles and to educate the public on how those shaped the development of our country.
Counter-balancing the left-wing assault on American history was part of the goal. But so too was rebuilding unity.
“A rediscovery of our shared identity rooted in our founding principles is the path to a renewed American unity and a confident American future,” says the report, which was released Monday.
“The facts of our founding are not partisan. They are a matter of history,” the report continues.
“Properly understood, these facts address the concerns and aspirations of Americans of all social classes, income levels, races, and religions, regions, and walks of life. As well, these facts provide necessary — and wise — cautions against unrealistic hopes and checks against pressing partisan claims of utopian agendas too hard or too far.”
“Comprising actions by imperfect human beings, the American story has its share of missteps, errors, contradictions, and wrongs. These wrongs have always met resistance from the clear principles of the nation, and therefore our history is far more one of self-sacrifice, courage, and nobility. America’s principles are named at the outset to be both universal—applying to everyone—and eternal: existing for all time. The remarkable American story unfolds under and because of these great principles.”
That was an argument that Dr. King frequently made: that America had not lived up to those principles.
On Monday, the nation marked King’s vision of that, recalling in his most famous speech that he longed for the day when black Americans would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
Along these lines, the Trump committee’s report itself quotes King, who said, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Part of the report discusses the historic challenges to America’s principles, including slavery, progressivism, fascism, and communism.
Yet it also examines racism and identity politics, and how the increasingly progressive view of that corrupted the principles to guide us.
“The heady spirit of the original Civil Rights Movement, whose leaders forcefully quoted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the rhetoric of the founders and of Lincoln, proved to be short-lived. The Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders,” the report notes.
“The ideas that drove this change had been growing in America for decades, and they distorted many areas of policy in the half-century that followed. Among the distortions was the abandonment of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in favor of “group rights.’”
The report adds, “Today, far from a regime of equal natural rights for equal citizens, enforced by the equal application of the law, we have moved toward a system of explicit group privilege that, in the name of ‘social justice,’ demands equal results and explicitly sorts citizens into ‘protected classes’ based on race and other demographic categories.”
“Identity politics makes it less likely that racial reconciliation and healing can be attained by pursuing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for America and upholding the highest ideals of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.”
The commission noted the nation can combat this slide with strong families who lives these founding values, schools that teach them without partisanship, promoting those historical figures who offer the best examples of this and respecting the rule of law.
In its conclusion, the report notes, “America’s founding principles are true not because any generation — including our own — has lived them perfectly, but because they are based upon the eternal truths of the human condition.”
“To be an American means something noble and good. It means treasuring freedom and embracing the vitality of self-government,” it adds.
“As we approach the 250th anniversary of our independence, we must resolve to teach future generations of Americans an accurate history of our country so that we all learn and cherish our founding principles once again. We must renew the pride and gratitude we have for this incredible nation that we are blessed to call home. When we appreciate America for what she truly is, we know that our Declaration is worth preserving, our Constitution worth defending, our fellow citizens worth loving, and our country worth fighting for.”