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End the duopoly

LIPSON: The Fierce Fight over America’s Ideals and History

Americans do more than tolerate calls to live up to our highest ideals. We embrace them. Martin Luther King knew that when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. “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 would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. … So we have come to cash this check.”

Honoring that check brings together Americans of all political stripes. Most think, rightly, that King’s dream is the American dream. They do not believe the dream itself is a fraud, an opiate for the masses. They reject this frontal assault on America’s history and basic values. They see it every day on television and, more privately, when their children come home from school and say what they are being taught.

Most Americans think our nation’s history and aspirations are good, sometimes noble, sometimes flawed, not rotten to the core. They recognize the cruelties, such as slavery and Jim Crow, and want them taught, not glossed over. But they […]

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