In my experience and observation, senior appointments are rarely based entirely on merit.
Some emotions are essential to law and to public principles of justice: anger at wrongdoing, fear for our safety, compassion for the pain of others, all these are good reasons to make laws that protect people in their rights.
I don't waste time despising people.
I wake up at night thinking about Euripides' 'Hecuba.' That to me is a story that says so much about what it is to be a human being in the middle of a world of unreliable things and people.
I think Americans did learn that you just are not going to be able to live well if you subordinate people on the grounds of their religion.
The U.S. has always understood itself to be united around political principles and not around culture, whereas the nations of Europe have a much more traditional conception of nationhood that is connected to romanticism, which thinks of religion and culture as ingredients of nationhood.