15 October: My impression is that there’s a big difference between how people like the Danes and Americans deal with the shames and embarrassments of their history. I got no sense of pulling punches or in any way minimizing the evils perpetrated by Denmark in its colonial and slave-trading history when I toured the relevant exhibits yesterday. They describe it and say it needs to be faced and suggest it’s a shameful business to recount—no denial and no vacuous apology or lamentation. Americans, on the other hand, mostly want to minimize and avoid what’s been done by our country, or among many liberals to acknowledge and feel shallowly guilty about it. And then there’s an undoubtedly large cohort that just doesn’t bother itself to think about it. Germany after WWII is another example of a country that’s mostly faced (eventually) what they did in the Holocaust and is still paying reparations. They certainly had their share of those who would minimize or shift the blame but it doesn’t appear the majority took that approach. Americans are more comfortable with delusion than most other people, it seems to me. They are largely unmoored from truth-seeking and I anticipate will soon pay the price for supporting unaccountable autocratic style government as the Republicans are preparing it.

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