Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Independence Day 2024

Although the United States of America is a flawed nation, it's good to remember that, in addition to other causes, it was founded in opposition to a monarchy and unaccountable power. We can add plenty of nuance and caveats to that statement (constitutional monarchy, property rights, slavery, treatment of Native Americans, women's rights, etc.), but that core principle of the democratic over the anti-democratic is worth remembering and fighting for. That's especially true given the anti-democratic and neofeudalistic goals of U.S. conservatives, as seen in the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, Project 2025, awful Supreme Court decisions from its conservative hacks, including giving the U.S. president monarchial rights, and many more examples. It would be nice if democracy weren't on the line every presidential election, and if plutocracy weren't made significantly worse with every Republican victory, but here we are.

I've often featured a 2006 piece by E.J. Dionne called "A Dissident's Holiday" that acknowledges America's flaws but also affirms its aspirations. It's a short piece worth reading in full, but this passage is especially apt:

. . . The true genius of America has always been its capacity for self-correction. I'd assert that this is a better argument for patriotism than any effort to pretend that the Almighty has marked us as the world's first flawless nation.

One need only point to the uses that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. made of the core ideas of the Declaration of Independence against slavery and racial injustice to show how the intellectual and moral traditions of the United States operate in favor of continuous reform.

There is, moreover, a distinguished national tradition in which dissident voices identify with the revolutionary aspirations of the republic's founders.

I'll end with a videos I've featured before, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" from Obama's first inauguration. (Past versions of the video have been taken down.) Although Woody started writing it as a critical song – and Pete includes some of the social commentary verses – it's also a celebratory and aspirational song. (I also can't see Pete pickin' and grinnin' without smiling.) Happy birthday, United States of America.

1 comment:

Steve in Manhattan said...

Are Trump, the GOP, and the 2025 crowd allowed to just drive the country off a cliff?

Lincoln said the Constitution was not a suicide pact.

Maybe before 65 or 70 thousand people in 4 or 5 states hand those people the keys to the minivan, someone should look into this.

Hello Deep State? Now might be the time to show yourselves.