They tell us how the United States is too powerful, too dominant, too successful, too free, and too independent - and all of these bad things simply must be eliminated. Regrettably, it appears our President subscribes to many of these views.
On the right, we've despair and gloom as folks look at our increasingly polarized nation and see fewer historical parallels to the Great Depression (extended by Roosevelt's failed policies and from which we were only dragged by WWII and the full employment of a nation fighting for survival) and more parallels to the divided nation of 1858 or 1859, shortly before the American Civil War.
I think that out of all the national holidays, I despise July 4th the most. It is our government's actions in first stealing this land from indigenous peoples and then going around ripping off resources of other countries that angers me and makes me ashamed.
Anonymous - 7/4/11
This set of crystal-ball gazers predicts increased polarization to the point that the Union cannot hold in the face of such broad philosophical differences and, in their eyes, the utterly despicable and unprincipled nature of their idealism-blinded opponents - resulting in division into like-minded regional polities at best, and bloody civil war at worst.
The die has been cast, the train is in motion, the avalanche has started… however you want to phrase it, but what started as a grand experiment in the preservation of individual rights and liberties has ended, for me, with the bullet-ridden body of a United States Marine, laying dead on the floor of his home, guilty of nothing more than being related to some unsavory characters. The country around us will still keep going – after all, there was a massive number of reagents at play, and a lot of time, energy, and effort stored up in that experiment, and all that has to go somewhere – but it is scant more than a corpse tied up in marionette strings, being toyed with by the people "in charge" who want to keep the charade going as long as possible.The thing is, both of them are forgetting something (or many things). First off, the past is dead and immutable.
There is no POINT in bemoaning, regretting, or generally getting all wrought up about it - all it offers us are opportunties to gaze over our collective shoulders and figure out if various past efforts worked out well enough to try again, or cratered so badly that they should be avoided at all costs.
Our history as a nation offers us heroes to admire and emulate, and a sufficiency of fools and villains to abhor and abjure...but that history serves as mere inspiration and example for the choices we make today.
As a nation, we've had the courage to make grand experiments...and work through grand failures, as well as embrace great successes.
We fought a civil war (and more completely unrelated internal skirmishes than you can shake a stick at) and freed the slaves, and at the same time substantially undermined our protections against the depredations of an over-potent federal government.
We've made huge progress in terms of civil rights for all persons, even as we've both failed to go far enough in some instances and gone much too far in others.
We are, state by state, in leaps large and small, moving towards recognizing marriage as a civil matter between two consenting and competent adults...separate from religious sensibilities and ceremonies.
Our armed services have been integrated for over 50 years. Women have the vote, and by and large we see equality in the workplace as the dominant paradigm today, not the exception.
Our nation has led numerous technological revolutions, and should we shed our self-imposed bureaucratic overhead, may well again.
For the progress we've made alone, we've a huge amount to be proud of as a nation. We have been on of the most giving nations on earth, and are more tolerant within our borders today than we have ever been - despite the fact that the bad acts of the few get the press and the publicity (and the readership FOR the press) largely to the exclusion of the far more frequent daily acts of kindness, cooperation, and tolerance of the many.
While we are in a Depression looking to attain or exceed the scope of the Great Depression of the 1930's, and are facing a brutal increase in food prices in all likelihood this coming fall (it has NOT been a good farm year, from what I'm hearing...) even as our President seems determined to cripple our ability to provide for our own energy needs while binding the hands of industry...
We have much to be proud of, and we have reason for hope.
But as libertarians and socially liberal conservatives (i.e., fiscal conservatives) we need to get up off our fundaments and speak (or continue to speak) loudly, providing strong arguments for our causes and interests to counter both the thankfully dwindling numbers of the socially conservative right and the depressingly large numbers of those of the Democrat & Democrat Lite persuasions - forming alliances where we can, but recognizing a temporary alliance on one or a set of issues is not a sign of a permanent alliance on all issues.
Celebrate. Remember the unique and pride-worthy history of the United States. And then get active.