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VICTOR JOECKS: Migrant tragedy debunks critical race theory

If critical race theory proponents were correct, people wouldn’t be risking their lives to come to America.

Monday is Independence Day, the country’s birthday. It used to be a unifying event. A time to set aside political, regional and religious differences. A chance to celebrate the glory of the United States. A day to be grateful for a chance to live in the most free nation on Earth and express pride in being an American.

No longer. Simmering in the background of our political discourse is a fundamental disagreement over America itself. Those who dislike the country are gaining momentum. A recent Gallup poll found just 38 percent of respondents were “extremely” proud to be an American. That’s a record low. Another 27 percent was “very” proud.

Combined, that’s 65 percent. Twenty years ago, it was 91 percent. It remained above 80 until 2017.

Democrats are driving the decline. Eighty-four percent of Republicans are either extremely or very proud to be an American. Among Democrats, it’s 52 percent.

This divide is shocking, until you remember the left’s embrace of divisive ideas such as critical race theory. That philosophy contends racism is at the core of the American experiment and her institutions. It claims America’s true founding is in 1619, not in 1776.

“White people raised in Western society are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and its institutions,” Robin DiAngelo writes in her book, “White Fragility.”

President Joe Biden frequently makes statements echoing this mindset. “The fact is systemic racism touches every facet of American life,” he tweeted after taking office. In 2020, he said, systemic racism isn’t “just in law enforcement, it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education and it’s in everything we do.”

Many on the left believe white supremacy is the foundation of America’s institutions. Democratic leaders at the highest levels diminish the incredible progress made since this nation began and again since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Little wonder so few Democrats are extremely proud Americans.

Yet if this nation is a cauldron of racism, why do so many people of color yearn to come here? Why leave your home for a place where you’d face systemic discrimination and your skin color put you in danger of all manner of calamity, including death at the hands of the police?

But millions of people, many of whom would be ethnic minorities in the United States, do want to come here. Recently, a horrified nation saw just how desperate they are.

On Monday, a tractor-trailer filled with more than 60 illegal immigrants was found abandoned in the sweltering San Antonio heat. By the time these poor souls were discovered, most had died as the trailer didn’t have working air conditioning. The death toll is 53 as of Friday. It’s reportedly the deadliest known human smuggling incident in modern U.S. history. There are victims from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.

There are many things worth saying about this tragedy but, for now, focus on this: The people in the back of the semi were there willingly and paid for the opportunity. One family said the smuggler charged $6,000 for transport into the United States.

Most Americans wouldn’t ride for hours in the back of a roasting tractor-trailer crammed with 60 other people if you paid them.

This disparity should be all the evidence you need that viewing everything through the prism of race produces a distorted worldview. America is a great country, a land of opportunity and freedom. It isn’t perfect, but its founding ideals are noble, just, unifying and lead to human flourishing.

Our country is worth celebrating, especially on the Fourth of July.

Happy Independence Day.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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