|Sculpture at Dachau by Nandor Glid.|
I am reminded of what Howard Zinn says in the first chapter of his influential People's History of the United States, a book often assigned in Exeter history courses:
We must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been.Just before I traveled to Germany I had read Richard Rorty's Achieving Our Country. Many people on the left, perhaps including Zinn, he writes,
find pride in American citizenship impossible, and vigorous participation in electoral politics pointless. They associate American patriotism with an endorsement of atrocities: the importation of African slaves, the slaughter of Native Americans, the rape of ancient forests, and the Vietnam War. Many of them think of national pride as appropriate only for chauvinists (7).
|At the exit from Glid's memorial sculpture.|
And speaking of acknowledging America's dark past, check out this video describing a museum under construction in Alabama by the Bryan Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative to consider America's historical legacy of slavery, segregation, and racial violence.