The nation celebrates Independence Day as democracy is at a crossroads
Thanks for defining so magnificently what I (and many others) were feeling yesterday. What many do not comprehend is that yesterday was not 1776. The ball is now in OUR court! God help us to live up to the principles on which this country was founded-"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"for EVERYONE!
This was a particularly grim 4th for me too. Even in one of the “progressive” cities in the nation, someone kept putting up a thin blue line flag next to the American flag in a park. People would take it away, someone else would put another one back up. Nothing like seeing the two countries in stark relief, with one side abandoning the American flag to fly their own bastardized version meant to symbolize fealty to a militarized government agency. Nothing free about that.
The confronting reality of this day of celebration and reflection is that the future of this dream of democracy is now in our hands!
In Canada, we're trying to incorporate the ambivalence that our First Nations people feel towards the nation, they could probably read that Douglass essay with feeling. Make it a day where we celebrate what's good, but reflect on how to do better.
Good words, Thomas Zimmer. Business-as-usual is one of the things we do best, especially in the face of dissonance as unpleasant as what we face today, so reminders like yours are needed. We should enjoy this day of celebration, but, as you eloquently say, we should not forget that we are in a fight for the “soul of our nation.” Thanks.
The good news is that whatever success the Right has enjoyed, it's not because they are advancing a popular agenda. They use voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering, and court-packing to achieve their nefarious goals. Long term, they will fail, along with other Fascist movements.
I enjoyed your post this morning. Very thoughtful. You captured ambivalence well without dialing into cynicism, at least in my opinion. From top to bottom, you tie together the mixed feelings about American democracy at the crossroads. I value that.
I just published my own Substack piece for Independence Day entitled "The Most Important Political Decision of the Century." I reference "Hercules at the crossroads" for my message. From your tag line, "...democracy is at a crossroads," to your ending "America can do better. Democracy depends on it.", I feel the urge to keep searching for a healthy patriotism. I hope we get there. I believe we can get there. I believe the destiny of America depends on our getting there, which has everything to do with embracing our ideals in the most healthy, most inclusive way possible. And yes, let's still enjoy making sense of the rituals of today given the times in which we live. Thanks, Thomas!
Great piece Thomas. It is up to us to step forward right now through the 2024 election to fight for the America we want to have.