Like many of you, I’m expecting to take in some significant amount of fireworks this weekend, as well as some good ol’ food. Every holiday should have some fun stuff like this. But this is also a special and awesome solemnity in the American experience, much as it is for most countries when they celebrate their independence, or their founding as a free nation. Ours, however, has been a model, drawn upon the lessons of history, laid down for posterity with elegance by those who may not have lived up to those ideals, but knew enough to set those ideals in words:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
So this brings me to the point:
A lot on the right will be waving flags until their arms and other parts fall off. There may even be some crappy patriotic music (I mean that Lee Greenwood shit). And all of them will cheerlead their causes based on how right the US of A is in the world. And some platitudes about the “original intent” of the Founding Fathers, with no understanding on the nuance, hypocrisy, or limitations therein.
Meanwhile, on the left, you’ll get a lot of “America is great, if…” and “America is great, but…” and a lot of ways to “perfect” America, mainly by making it what it was not meant to be. And of course, they mock the right for their mindless, empty patriotism. And then add in some Obamagasms from the particularly clueless.
And the majority of people will throw some food on the grill, then watch shit explode, and barely touch on the fact that on a rainy July 2 (today), 12 of the 13 colonies voted for independence, after weeks of infighting, and the main opponents of independence not showing up for the vote (by arrangement). The colony of New York actually abstained (also by arrangement), which brought other colonies to vote for independence (on the condition that no colony opposed). And only after all this did the Founding Fathers take the leap to independence, with no guarantee of success, with the price of failure coming at a rope, and even in success they faced years of labor just to hold it all together while idiot partisans on both sides started flinging bullshit (our political discourse is seriously restrained in comparison, since they did occasionally settle things by shooting each other – ask VP Aaron Burr).
And two days after actually voting for independence, they managed to ratify the sacred document that defined the beginning of our country.
The simple truth of our time is that we so quickly forget how hard it was for all of us to come to this point in our time. We forget that it took statesmen who did what they knew was right, no matter the cost, to make the country work. And that living on an ideological line was bound to produce not the best leaders of our time, but the lesser of evils. That a candidate needed the outstanding ability to see the issue and lead before he needed the ability to speak and raise assloads of cash. And that resting on our laurels and letting a monolithic,faceless bureaucracy decide how we live our lives is the surest path to our own damned destruction.
So for those of you who are not engaged in the process of trying to weed the scum out of the political process (of which too many of us fail), I’d suggest not celebrating a holiday based around people butting their asses on the line for freedom, because you’re missing the damned point. And for those of you who grab onto the dependence on idiot parties, take a page from some of our best Founding Fathers, show a streak of actual independence, and boot the double-dealing scum who would sell us out for a vote out of their Washington offices.
Because if you hadn’t noticed, or Form of Government is becoming destructive to the end of securing our life, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness.