It should be increasingly apparent to Americans, as they become aware, through new technologies, of white-on-black police killings, that there is a dark side to American history, requiring expiation.
Alongside the lofty rhetoric of the Founding Fathers, there is the hatred and exploitation of what was known euphemistically in the antebellum South as the "peculiar institution": slavery.
Abraham Lincoln became the first public figure to synthesize the idealism and the race hatred at the founding of the American Republic by his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, ending slavery in the South. For this he became the first American president to be assassinated. The 100th anniversary of this tragedy we commemorated yesterday.
This tension between the side of light and the dark side of our history is with us today. The New York Times, in an editorial of 11 April, called to our attention "A New Phase in the anti-Obama attacks." The Times stated: "As Barack Obama's presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment is growing louder, angrier and more destructive."
The Times went on to add, "The tone of the current attacks is disturbing. It is their evident intent...to undermine not just Mr. Obama's policies but his very legitimacy as president...it is impossible to dismiss the notion that race plays a role in it."