Aaaaaaaand that’s enough out of this diary for today. Time for friends, family, food and fireworks. Happy Fourth of July to one and all.
Show of hands: How many readers are really not looking forward to Independence Day this year?
I don’t mean the time off and I am certainly not knocking friends, family, food and fireworks. The hesitation has to do with what the day is supposed to commemorate vs. what seems to me a likely looming, terrible future.
Popular historian Richard Brookhiser has written, “American is about liberty or it is about nothing.” And lately I’m thinking, maybe it’s about nothing.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most nations are not proposition nations and those that are don’t always fare so well. The Soviet Union was modeled around an idea that was ultimately a lie, and it is no more.
Sure, most nations may have vague national ideals that they aspire to. But these usually take a back seat to custom and shared history. Or, lately, particular notions get overridden by larger international schemes.
America is different, or at least it once was. But liberty and self-government are more under assault now than any time I can remember.
And I wonder — I truly wonder — if we’re up to the Titanic task of pushing back: against staggering schemes to take over ever more of the economy; against an entitlement regime and mentality that will well and truly bankrupt us; against the downpour of depredations of our personal liberties by anal airport screeners, bothersome bureaucrats and corpulent city councils.
My church teaches that despair is a sin. And yet I have to confess, my fellow Americans, that as this Independence Day approaches I am more uncertain than ever if we’ll be up to the task.