Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Respect the Founders--Fight For Your Country

I have a friend who is refusing to "celebrate" the 4th of July today. It's not an echo of Fredrick Douglass' iconic "What to a slave is the 4th of July?" speech; they come from a middle class white family, of the kind who have much to be thankful for because of the fight for independence. They're just not celebrating it because they agonize for the health of the country in these times, and can't muster the enthusiasm to wave the flag and give another "rah rah" for imperialism this year.

I can definitely sympathize, but I can't agree. For me the 4th is a re-energizing event--although in a nod to my friend, the fact that my patriotic energy needs boosting is definitely a sad sign of trouble. While I can understand the impulse to retreat and lick the metaphoric wounds of our national embarrassment and shame, not to mention the actual wounds suffered by real Americans in combat, to do so is to admit defeat.

I can't do that. Regular readers know that Carla and I both can be stubborn folks, and I'll be double-damned if I'm going to let the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney force me into despair for my nation. I can't let them kill the true American spirit, the one that guided our founders into rebelling against tyranny and proposing a government that seeks to prevent one at all costs. Going into a protective shell is the last thing we should do; our voices need to grow louder, not softer.

We hear a lot about those men and women who fight for our freedom today, and it's absolutely true. But there is another group of men who made today's sacrifices possible, and they fought no less bravely to secure freedom and the rule of law for their countrymen (at least the ones with white dicks and land.) It is their ideals and their reputation that most need upholding, their banner that we must raise highest. It is not a time to retreat and weep for what we have lost; we must demand restoration of that which has been ripped from us--our pride, our dignity, our confident sense of righteousness.

Don't be quiet this 4th of July. Take up the flag of our founding fathers and renew their ideals. Remind yourself from whence we came, and where we can one day be again. Do not sleep, do not despair. But do not demur.

Happy Independence Day, Oregon.