I no longer assume we know what we are celebrating on the Fourth of July, or that we’re celebrating at all. So I ask the question of myself and others. In 2022, the United States is still great for many of us — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and all that — but its foundation has numerous cracks:

  • Dark money, a spawn of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, continues to flow into political campaigns and effect public policy in profoundly negative ways;
  • Many American conservatives appear to be opposed to direct democracy and comfortable with the prospect of an autocracy — or the “illiberal democracy” they admire in Viktor Orban’s Hungary.
Current New Yorker

I have pointed out in columns and blog posts the admiration one U.S. congressman — the awful Andy Harris of Maryland — has for Orban. But Harris is not alone; other Republican members of the House think Orban provides a great model for America: A kind of soft dictatorship with control of the media and courts, the neutralization of political opponents and the establishment of hard borders to maintain white Christian purity. Read this New Yorker story to learn more about Orban’s Hungary. It could be what the next American republic looks like.

I say “next” because I am not sure the foundation established 246 years ago will hold, and I’m not alone.
The Congress that declared independence on July 4, 1776, wanted no part of a king or aristocracy. The union was imperfect but it evolved over time and through a civil war. The Constitution guided us, separating and balancing government powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality.
Those of us who were under the impression of permanent progress — that is, a country that grew smarter and more humane as it grew larger and more powerful — look at where we are now and wonder what happened.

How could millions of Americans vote a vulgarian into office?
How could Republicans in the Senate brazenly and hypocritically ignore long-honored rules to stack the Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority?

How could the GOP support candidates who further Trump’s big lie?

How can Trump, who was at the center of what appears to be a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, be considered the Republican front runner for 2024?
I’m sure a lot of you have these same questions.
The problem is, almost half of Americans do not. They refuse to see the danger approaching, or they’ve decided they prefer the strongman form of government to the one that was handed to us more than two centuries ago.

Hyperbole? No. I do not dismiss any possibility.

So what do I celebrate on this Fourth of July 2022? Two things: That I can still freely express my opinions and that I still have a few cells of optimism in my bones. I remain, despite what I’ve just written, semi-optimistic that more Americans will come to their senses before it’s too late for this old democracy. I’ve not given up completely.
Of course, I also believe the Baltimore Orioles will be in the World Series within the next three seasons. So there’s that.

8 thoughts on “What are we celebrating this Fourth of July?

  1. You must be reading my mind; I was reading the New Yorker piece on Orban last night. I agree completely with your concluding optimism as to the Orioles, but not as to our country

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, Dan, I strongly disagree. Remember it was the destruction of our rights, and the democrats wanting to control every part of our lives that inspired many Americans to vote a new kind of politician into The Office if the President. The strides that Donald Trump made to further our economy and reduce energy dependence on foreign countries was significant. I agree that at times, he acted poorly, and said things a sitting President should never say, however no one can deny the progress that he made. I think if you ask any American are they better off with Donald Trump out of office , you would get a resounding NO. The damage cause by the current President and his administration has been catastrophic. He is too old. Too weak and has cognitive disabilities that I pray doesn’t destroy our country even further. His reckless behavior will cause many Americans to get back on the Republican train and vote him out of office. Is Donald Trump the answer? I’m not sure, but he sure did a much better job than Biden.
    Don Towson, Md


    1. This is the alternative reality that infests this country. The strongest parts of Trump’s economy were inherited from Obama. All he did was cut taxes of corporations and the wealthy, increasing deficit spending by $1 trillion. He came nowhere near 4% growth and created far fewer jobs than any previous president going back to Carter. The U.S. remains a net exporter of energy under Biden, assuming the president has any control over that. No country is truly independent of changes in global energy markets. Energy independence is a fallacy. Trump inflicted cruel policies on immigrants, lied or misled with statements some 30,000 times (according to the Washington Post’s count) and he appears to have been engaged fully in a criminal conspiracy to stop the peaceful transfer of power after he lost an election. And you’re still “not sure” he’s the right man to be president. Ok.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No celebrations here this year. Lots of mourning. I pray we survive this rogue Supreme Court and supporters of the seditious insurrection. I am appalled at the state of our government.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too am very worried about the future of the USA. Sadly, there are lots of good people in this country, but they are largely silent. The RW crowd, however, has multiple loud mouth pieces Such as FOX, and the other RW media outlets who try to imitate legit news but routinely twist the news to fit their agenda. Sadly, about half of our fellow citizens don’t read decent papers or listen/watch true news media. They hear what they want and they want what they get.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan, changing ‘culture’ is an individual responsibility! As YOU know so well, until one takes total responsibility for their actions, the current unacceptable strife will persist and no one can feel secure in such a society that we are witnessing on a daily basis! Common decency is an essential part of a person’s persona! How is this acquired? If it is factual that ‘we are who we are by the age of six’ , then it seems to me that the primary responsibility for assuring a positive result rests with good parenting! Unfortunately we face a long road ahead until this basic prerequisite becomes the norm, if ever! So how best to persuade the current generation that this course of action is their only hope for a loving, peaceful lifestyle, one in which everyone treats others as they want to be
    treated, respectfully and kindly! So be it!


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