posted on Jul, 5 2007 @ 01:52 AM
I'm with Grady and S.O.
Politicians come and go, and for that (particularly the going) I think we are all occasionally grateful. On a much longer life cycle, larger
interests, which are in many cases corrupt and often dominate our politicians, also come and go. The people, however, endure.
This is not merely a day of self-congratulation, of celebration of the past, or of rememberance. This day, like any ritual, is an exercise of an idea
that we choose to instruct ourselves in.
This country indeed probably is not what the founding dissidents envisioned. To offer but a pair of brief examples, Washington would be gravely
concerned with American foreign policy in the past century and Jefferson with the importance of faith in elections, particularly in recent Republican
We sometimes seem to agree only academically, without a true understanding, that the men who concieved of such a thing as democratic republic in, and
a confederation, and later a federation of the American states, were radicals.
How can we, as modern Americans, comprehend the seeming absurdity of the idea that one government can serve the interests of both New York and South
How could we possibly concieve of the seeming certainty that without an aristocracy and state sponsored monopolies, that our society and economy would
fall into utter anarchy?
Can we fully understand the stakes of rejecting so much convention?
We take the feasibility of the American way for granted even as some seek to revert us to elements of what our revolution was intended to purge from
That is what makes this holiday important.
For those who take the time to know this country's history, and can comprehend the value of it and the tenuous hold that we have on it, who use this
as an occasion to pass on to the next generation not merely an appreciation for fireworks and hotdogs and self congratulation but an esteem for the
radical and beautiful ideals of this nation which in every generation are both simultaneously enjoyed and built upon but also threatened and eroded,
this holiday is an exercise which will prevent the atrophe of the vital revolutionary spirit which Jefferson so wisely hoped to always preserve.
Yes, happy birthday not to merely to a flag and a set of coordinates and a collection of ochred papers at the national archives, but to the
life of the idea in the minds of those who once dreamed (and still dream) of Liberty. Of greater importance still, many more to come.
Dire as things may get, more can come, not only for the flag and the borders and the documents but for the idea, if we continue to teach it and to
exercise it. Revolutions, in town halls and college campuses and every other nerve center of the grass roots, at ballot boxes, in the halls of the
capital and possibly sometimes in the streets of the capital, will ensure our liberty in every generation to come if we do so.