Happy Indepdendence Day, fellow Americans. Here's to some day getting our country back to our "long national nightmare of peace and prosperity," to a time where being an American abroad meant being a beacon of freedom and a symbol of self reliance rather than a harbinger of war and messenger of corruption, to those times -- mythical in proportion, and too often unequal in application, but still worth believing in if it allows us to ever live up to those national ideals -- when America was the good guy, the one willing to saunter up to Hitler and sock him in the jaw.
Every day the news is full of stories about economic crisis, a quagmire in Iraq, plans for a new quagmire in Iran, anti-American protests, corruption, political hypocracies, economic disparities, curtailing of civil rights, Chinese ascendency and American decline. Bloated, lazy spendthrifts who have followed the flock away from hard work and self-betterment and into the world of downing big gulps in front of big TVs are celebrated as the real face of proletarian America, while anorexic mental defectives parade their unclothed vaginas in the popular press and are heralded as our new elite. Jesus junkies impede our nation's scientific progress at every chance they get, and our Gini Index is one of the worst in the post-industrialized world as our rich get richer and our middle class gets scared into complacency by speculator-driven economic crises. As a nation, our history also pulls us down as much as it lifts us up. We've still never formally apologized or made reparations to the Native peoples, and the legacy of slavery still tugs at us to this day. There's a lot of work to do, and often it seems like our faddish predelictions and short attention spans are such that we'll never actually get it done.
However, beneath all that there are still people who represent the best of the American character, and perhaps someday America will live up to its own ideals. So, on this 4th of July, celebrate the best of what we can become if we put our minds to it, because we owe it to ourselves to make a go of it.