To hear liberal editorialists tell it, there is little to celebrate this Fourth of July.
“[R]ight now, America is headed nowhere fast – and that’s precisely why I’m not going to bother this year,” Nash Riggins writes in The Independent.
Some go further, arguing that the United States’ is now led by George III-like figure, the monarch whose abuses pushed colonists to declare independence, and who was ultimately beset by mental illness.
“[T]his year, a fractious and controversial U.S. administration has plunged the country into a mood of division, anger and suspicion, testing the cohesion of our nation and the civility of our citizens toward each other,” Liesl Schillinger writes in the LA Times. “The abuses of George III seem less notional now, less archaic and unrepeatable than they once did.”
Notably, Schillinger’s story includes a banner picture of a production of Alan Bennett’s play “The Madness of King George.”
And some go still further, arguing neither the “romantic narrative of the revolution” used by the Right in service of its “accusations of bureaucratic tyranny,” nor the “convenient political allegory” used by the Left to promote the vision of beleaguered colonists fighting against a monarchy’s economy tyranny, are accurate. Instead, they argue it was yet another example of the “radical working-class movements” being “violently suppressed by the revolutionary elite.”
This is, put simply, nonsense.
As Aldous Huxley observed in Brave New World, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” Do we already take for granted the radical notion that a society could function without a king? Do we take for granted that colonists would opt to fight and die in the name of that crazed idea? Do we take for granted that the ragtag bunch of untrained farmers and wild boys could then defeat the world’s most formidable military? Do we take for granted that the victors would be able to come together and agree on a form of government that would endure for hundreds of years?
We are the United States and yet we can’t even remain united in the fundamental belief that regardless of the party in the White House we should come together to celebrate the moment we decided to become the United States. As Abraham Lincoln famously wrote:
We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves—we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it.
That something is the then-unheard of notion that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” These words, Lincoln argued bind us together to be “blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration.”
“That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world,” Lincoln declares.
Our desire for and love of freedom must be the thing that guides us and sustains us, for as Kevin Williamson writes for National Review, it extends beyond political, economic and religious disagreements, it is, in short “our nature.”
“It is in our nature. We aren’t our politics. We aren’t our government or our president or even our Constitution, which is subject to revision from time to time,” he writes. “We are the people who decided that rather than just change kings, we’d do away with kings altogether under the eradication theological premise that all men are created equal…A people with no king showed the world that life without tyranny is possible, and in fact that no tyrant walking the Earth is powerful enough to stand against a nation of truly free men.”
That is what we celebrate this and every Fourth of July. And no amount of editorial pouting or grandstanding should get in the way of it.
A special thanks to Pixabay for the image.