- - Thursday, October 29, 2020

One subtext of the election between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is the issue of American history and whether it is good or bad. The far-left wingers who are rioting in the streets are a dominant force in the Democratic Party today. As a result, the preservation of American history is on the ballot on Nov. 3. 

I believe that America is exceptional and worry that the “creeping socialism” that William F. Buckley warned us of now includes a push for the description of America as racist, sexist, homophobic and generally a horrible country. Not many people have considered that the meta battle over the greatness of our Founding Fathers and the inherent good of America as being on the ballot on Election Day. It is not an overstatement to say that if Mr. Biden wins the presidency, many on the far left will be empowered to loot American history by tearing down the reputation of our Founders and teaching our children that America is inherently wicked.

Thomas D. Klingenstein, chairman of the Claremont Institute, recently made the case that this election is “about the character of America” and “whether America is good or bad.” He does not allege that Mr. Biden is “bad,” but he correctly identifies the problem as that “Biden who is controlled by a party that thinks America is bad.” Mr. Klingenstein argues that the ultimate goal is “the radical restructuring of the institutions that teach the values and principles that undergird the American way of life — family, religion, education, and community life.”

The core problem is that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by radical leftists who denigrate American history and hate capitalism. Look at the left’s tolerance for continuing rioting against the police and looting of stores in big cities. You do not hear Mr. Biden, or his vice presidential nominee, Sen.Kamala Harris, taking a strong stand against leftists who are engaging in combat with police. Nor do you see a strong denunciation of the looting. The Democratic leaders look the other way and tolerate the burning of the American flag, the tearing down of statues of our Founders, the renaming of holidays such as Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples Day” and cancelling people who have used prohibited words. 

While most voters are focused on the coronavirus and lockdowns, the issue that will resonate for decades to come is what we teach our children about America. We should not rewrite history to make George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton into evil men because they lived in an embryotic republic at a very different time. Nor should we tolerate an education system that indoctrinates our children into the newly rewritten left-wing version of history. The hard left will be empowered under a Biden administration to inch us toward a nation that will hate itself.

Although Mr. Biden is no radical left-winger, we do see the taint of that good vs. bad battle in the issues he has chosen to push. Mr. Biden has embraced a watered-down version of the Green New Deal that is based on an effort to eliminate fossil fuels from human consumption that will cost millions of Americans jobs and higher energy prices. Mr. Biden’s platform to raise taxes on corporations implies that the government is a better allocator of resources than the private sector. The gun control agenda of the left implies that people cannot be trusted to use a firearm safely. Defunding the police implies that the police are all bad people and can’t be trusted to protect us. 

These issues expose the Democratic Party as one inhabited by differing levels of mistrust for American citizens while being skeptical of our nation’s history. Mr. Klingenstein argues that the left’s goal “is not to improve the American way of life; it is to remake it.” He correctly identifies as the core of the American way of life being “individual rights.” Republicans believe that America is inherently good.

This election is not going to be won or lost on the issue of good vs. bad, yet it may end up determining it. Americans need to understand that this election will determine if our nation creeps toward a distorted vision of our great nation that will turn Americans against America.

• Brian Darling is former counsel and senior communications director for Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican.

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