For many of us wondering about where this nation of ours is headed, the Fourth of July isn’t just a day at the beach. It is a day to worry about our democracy.
This nation is a bit befuddled as we enter the Fourth of July holiday this summer.
In many respects, it is the summer of our discontent.
We have come out of the pandemic, but we have not emerged from the split in our politics that divides the nation.
There is no simple way to bridge the divide, If there was, it would already have been done.
Instead, the folly of bad government continues in Washington.
The division of thoughts we share about who ought to be doing what to right the ship of state prevails.
Everyone is a genius with something to say in modern America. Everyone believes they have a right to be heard.
We exult in our freedom of speech. We exult in our court system.
We exult about our wealth and our economy, and we exult about its resilience in the post-pandemic upward swing that is proving dramatic.
This Fourth of July, however, there are deep rumblings about racism and hate, intolerance, and bad history continuing to be taught as though our Founding Fathers were heavenly men.
They were not.
Many of them were slaveholders. This is a hard thing for Blacks and Browns to get over. We were a slave keeper democracy when we were founded on the Fourth of July!
This is not an easy fact of history to shuffle aside, and we are finding this out now, 245 years after we broke away from Britain.
The American experiment has worked. It is not perfect, but it has worked, and in such a way, that this remains the bastion of freedom and debate, the one place in this world where so many millions want to come to live.
There was great hope here on July Fourth, 1776.
The great hope remains – and we are strong, and we will survive and prosper.