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The 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, in which black residents were murdered in bloody riots, was an opportunity for Joe Biden to be the uniter he promised to be. Instead the president gave a speech with more partisan ire than lofty ideas; more condemnation of America than belief in it.

The horror of Tulsa, where at least 39 died and likely many more as whites burned down “Black Wall Street” is a too-often forgotten dark chapter of our history, and it’s right to highlight it.

But Biden suggested that the nation hasn’t come very far in the past century, and diminished the tragedy by pretending today’s voting laws are somehow equivalent. He accused Republicans seeking to secure election integrity of being “simply un-American,” and engaging in a “tireless assault on the right to vote,” an “unprecedented assault on our Democracy.”

It’s the same kind of hyperbole he used when he called Georgia laws “Jim Crow” that show Biden is uninterested in truth — he just wants to score political points.

Progressives like to suggest the objections to Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project and its ilk is about covering up our racist past. It isn’t — we should teach American history, warts and all. The problem is that they want to suggest that racism is all America is. That it’s never gotten better, and likely never will. It’s a deeply pessimistic vision.

Biden’s Tulsa speech wasn’t just divisive; it sent a clear message to his own partisans that theirs alone is the true and just way to see things. Those who do not accept his progressive vision of America as deeply racist he casts as those very racists. According to the president, the hate that led to the massacre “never went away.” It is a desperate, fearful and false view of the country he leads.

Barack Obama’s 2008 “race speech” in Philadelphia balanced the sins and the achievements of America. In Biden’s version, it is all sin, confession, and repentance. Biden made absolutely no mention of any improvement in racism in America in 100 years. The closest he got was celebrating that corporate television ads now have more mixed race couples.

The truth is that over the past century the United States has made incredible strides toward equality of opportunity. In no place on earth does one’s race or religion matter less in achieving success. Thank God Joe Biden’s vision of a dark and racist America is nowhere near reality, but it would be nice to have a president who understands that.

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