Happy Fourth of July 2016 — I think
I’m probably feeling the least patriotic I have in years due to the current political situation in the U.S. This song seems appropriate today (please ignore that Simon and Garfunkel licensed it to the Sanders campaign. I’m ignoring it, anyway).
There’s a famous quote from Erma Bombeck (women’s humorist who was popular in the 70s and 80s) that often gets quoted on Independence Day: “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” My basic stance is the same as in past years — I love the United States and I wish we would do better at living up to our own ideals. But this year I feel like we are eating a bit too much potato salad and not looking our actual political choices — and the consequences that they will generate — very actively in the face. I’m not pro-Revolution by any means, but the business at usual that reflects so much of what’s going on in our national political sphere is no longer acceptable, either.
I’m looking at you, Congress. All those people centuries ago pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so that we could have a democratic government and make our own decisions. And our representatives, caught up in fulfilling their ideological fantasies, largely refuse to legislate. This isn’t principled action, and destroying one’s country is the opposite of patriotism. You may have your own America you’re looking at in your mind, and I’ve got mine in my mind — but when push comes to shove we all have to live in the same one.
Govern, folks. You need to govern. That’s what we elect you to do.