Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth

I'm not much of one for "rah-rah" patriotism. I don't like the "USA USA" chants at sporting events*, and I can't stand "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood. To me, true patriotism is understated, it doesn't need to be shouted out to everyone around so they get it.

That being said I like July 4th, mainly because it's one day where political reading goes bonkers and every minor political pundit tries to drum up some obscure viewpoint of the founders to further their political beliefs. Because of this we get the Tea Parties and their misspelled signs, progressives calling everyone who doesn't think the founders were tax and spend statist liberals stupid, and the Apple Dumpling Gang...well, the Apple Dumpling Gang defies explanation. I read somewhere (don't remember where) something by my friend Kevin that basically said you couldn't have a discussion about the Nation's founding anymore because no one understood the damn thing in the first place.

I agree. Much of this is because history is written by the victors, and much of it is because of the human tendency to discount those things with which we disagree. There's also the frustrating tendency of people to try and superimpose past ideologies on present groups. For example: people saying that the founders were all "liberals" and the pro-England groups were "conservatives" . That's just wrong on so many levels, and factually inaccurate.

The real story is that America was founded by an amalgamation of political ideas, figures both great and small and (yes) scoundrels and opportunists. It's what makes this Country great, and our inability to come to grips with this fact** is (partially) what brings us down.

So this 4th I encourage you to celebrate the holiday however you see fit. Wrap yourself in the flag listen to Lee Greenwood, sit in a bar and rail against those evil conservative idiots, do charity for the right reasons or just to prove you're superior to others, attend a political rally for your chosen party or spend time blogging about the evils of every other idea but yours. The important bit to remember, is that we all have the ability to do this because of where we live, and what a ideological diverse group of men were able to accomplish 235 years ago.

*You'd think that, after all these years, we could come up with something better than just chanting our initials over and over.

**Conservatives have a tendency to ignore America's faults while Liberals/Progressive/Socialists have a tendency to focus too much on them. Part of the problem is the liberal education system which, for years taught a glorified version of history. Your coping mechanism for dealing with this is largely driven by your political ideology. Neither are correct.

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