Independence Day Open Thread

In spite of our historical cruelties, imperial tendencies, and wealth gap, I do believe that this is the greatest country in the history of the world. It's not because of any sort of manifest destiny, Providence, or exceptionalism. It's because natural resources and ocean borders gave us a unique history, because we are young and thus in a better position to learn from history's mistakes; and because oppressed people tend to do amazing things. It is those oppressed people we remember today, on the Fourth of July.

When King George went a bit too far, a group of impressive men rebelled with one of the greatest visions the world has ever known. "All men are created equal" may be a cliche today, but it was radical at the time. Yes, they were all men, but while the history of America may well be one of sexism and militance, it is also one of righting wrongs and of spreading freedom. We ended slavery before Britain ended its colonialism. We forgave our enemies after WWII and rebuilt Europe out of our own pockets. We elected a minority individual as President only forty years after Jim Crow, and at a time when most other places could certainly not do so. We've got a long, long way to go, but we've already come farther than any other country, and that gives me hope.

We can say anything we want in print and at public meetings, legally worship however we choose, and visit millions of acres of public land. We are the freest people on earth. Happy Fourth.

Tags: America, freedom, history, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Hungry? Dying?

Take to the streets.

Mob Washington.

Do it for yourself, and do it for America.

I want all of you to put down your keyboards, walk to your doors, March on Washington, and yell, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

And God Bless America!

by eroded47095 2010-07-04 11:35AM | 0 recs
RE: Independence Day Open Thread

Happy birthday, Ron Kovic!

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-04 03:57PM | 0 recs
I was born, lucky me, in the land that I love

Good grief.  Yeah, we ended slavery before Britain ended colonialism but unfortunately, after they abolished slavery.  Oops.  And our colonialism carried on for another 150 years, as in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Indochina, etc.  But hey, we elected a black man forty years after the end of Jim Crow (no E there, Nathan)!  Of course, we had Jim Crow for a hundred years after slavery.

Nationalism and patriotism are always a matter of spin so why bother?  Patriotism is a way to divide people around the world and unite them under a bogus concept so they an be manipulated to fight each other in the name of country--for the benefit of economic and political elites.  

 

by Thaddeus 2010-07-04 04:43PM | 0 recs
RE: I was born, lucky me, in the land that I love

I'll grant the misspelling and fix it. Thanks for catching that.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-04 07:19PM | 0 recs
I don't know Nathan

I think we have a different definition of "free."

Without universal free healthcare and education, I don't think we are, in fact, free. 

My take is more that it is a constant struggle to live up to the ideals that Declaration has enshrined and not that we have necessarily achieve them.

The Declaration of Independence is without a doubt one of the greatest political manifestos ever written. That's why I celebrate the 4th for its universality not for the birth of a country that may yet not endure.

by Charles Lemos 2010-07-04 05:09PM | 1 recs
RE: I don't know Nathan

We probably do have different definitions. For me, healthcare and education are like freedom in that they are matters of justice. Freedom to me is about choice and autonomy, and though this nation lacks full justice and true equality, we do have an abundance of individual sovereignty.

I'm sure the country won't endure forever, but I do believe the arc of history is the arc of progress, which is very encouraging to me. And we do agree that there is a constant struggle, and that's what matters most.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-04 07:23PM | 0 recs
RE: I don't know Nathan

Nathan there is freedom of and freedom from. The US scores well in the freedom of and not so well in the freedom from.

How can a person be free if that person does not have enough to eat?

by Charles Lemos 2010-07-06 12:04PM | 0 recs
RE: I don't know Nathan

That's a really good way of putting it. I like that.

We still score higher than most countries - especially non-European countries - in the freedom from category, but you know I agree that a country of our wealth has no excuse for not doing beter.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-06 03:09PM | 0 recs

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