Pretty, Pretty Gunpowder

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.


Banned on the Fourth of July

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.