I’ve been reading through Cornel West’s Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism. I ran across this quote, and thought it was extremely profound and worthy of contemplation.
The American democratic experiment is unique in human history not because we are God’s chosen people to lead the world, nor because we are always a force for good in the world, but because of our refusal to acknowledge the deeply racist and imperial roots of our democratic project. We are exceptional because of our denial of the antidemocratic foundation stones of American democracy. No other democratic nation revels so blatantly in such self-deceptive innocence, such self-paralyzing reluctance to confront the nightside of its own history. This sentimental flight from history – or adolescent escape from painful truths about ourselves – means that even as we grow old, grow big, and grow powerful, we have yet to grow up.