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Steel fencing and barbed wire surround the Capitol building ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration Steel fencing and barbed wire surround the Capitol building ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Washington, Jan. 19, 2021 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

America—and Democracy Itself—Are in Uncharted Waters

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

In 1962, in the immediate aftermath of the most devastating famine and worst man-made disaster of the modern era, senior officials in the Chinese Communist Party sought to initiate a review of state policies that had just killed between 30 million and 40 million people in China.

China’s ruler at the time, Mao Zedong, objected to any major change of course or even a frank assessment of the situation, and especially to anything that might tarnish his reputation or threaten his future legacy. But as the regime’s No. 2, Liu Shaoqi, warned, “If we fundamentally refuse to acknowledge that there have been shortcomings and errors … then no summing up of the experience can be carried out, and bad cannot be turned to good.” ...

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