reflections on Independence Day
Some thoughtful posts out there on the meaning of what it means to be an American today:
First, from the General, who quotes from the Declaration of Independence (go read it) and from Ani de Franco.
It seems that many of the grievances listed by the colonists could be echoed today by citizens, against our very own government: Holding people without charge? Check. Depriving people of trial by jury? Check. Sending people overseas to be tortured? Check. As the General's Inner Frenchman is quoting selectively from the Declaration, I can see that he noticed the similarity of grievances as well.
I would add the following:
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
Next, an excellent and thought-provoking post from Billmon (I know I say that all the time, but it's true:
If I had to boil our modern kulturkampf down to two words, they wouldn't be blue and red, they would be "traditionalist" and "modern." On one side are the believers in the old ways -- patriarchy, hierarchy, faith, a reflexive nationalism, and a puritanical, if usually hypocritical, attitude towards sexual morality. On the other are the rootless cosmopolitians -- secular, skeptical (although at times susceptible to New Age mythology) libertine (although some of us aren't nearly as libertine as we'd like to be) and less willing to equate patriotism with blind allegiance, either to a flag or a government.
He then goes on to draw some interesting comparisons to Spain during its Civil War, and concludes that
Compared to most countries, America has been very lucky so far -- those kind of passions have only erupted in massive bloodshed once (well, twice if you count the original revolution.) By definition, however, something that has already happened is no longer impossible. It's easy for newspaper columnists to fantasize about disunited states, but only madmen would actually try to make them so. Unfortunately, the madmen are out there. It's up to the rest of us to keep them under control.
On the local front, the weather turned unexpectedly cool yesterday, after a week or more of very summery temperatures. The travel trailer was still parked out back, and our neighbor apparently decided to attend one of the big fireworks displays this year, and didn't buy so many of his own. So we didn't have anyone shooting off fireworks behind our house this year; and maybe because people had to get back to work today, everything quieted down for the most part around 11 pm, instead of continuing on until 1 or 2 in th morning as it has in some previous years. When the neighbor got home, he set off some bottle rockets (from his fron yard - he didn't risk it from the back because of the trailer?), but it was clear he didn't buy as much as he has the last few years. So I am grateful for all of that. I guess my only gripe, as the concussions from the downtown displays shook my house from, yes, 12 miles away, is that I don't understand why people don't make the connection to what many Iraqi cities must be going through every single day now for over 3 years, and how horrible it must be for the people living in a war zone we elected to create.