- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
ROBBINS: Making July 4 unpatriotic
Liberals hate hamburgers - and that America is exceptional
Independence Day should be the most American of our holidays, but for some people, that makes it a day to be denounced instead of celebrated.
There will be fewer celebrations this July 4 than in years past. Many cities and towns are canceling fireworks displays, either because of budget concerns or the increased risk of sparking wildfires. A survey by Visa released Sunday showed that 21 percent of Americans will not celebrate the Fourth this year because they can no longer afford to. For the millions of families of the unemployed, the holiday won’t be a day off, but just another day.
Others take a stand against the holiday on misguided principle. An essay in the leftist magazine The Progressive denounced the “mindless patriotic bubble bath” the holiday represents. It says patriotism is “highly toxic” and “when ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties.” Patriotism is “a war toy” used to justify conflict, “often after invoking God’s name, too.” American patriotism in particular has “gotten in the way of solving global warming” since Americans “believe we have the God-given right to use up all the resources we can.” The magazine suggests that Americans need to “get over patriotism” and “cure the American superiority complex.” It is a ringing call for the pursuit of unhappiness.
A survey by the National Retail Federation found that close to 68 percent of Americans said they would host or attend a barbecue, the highest percentage in the history of the study. But lest people enjoy themselves too much, The Washington Post ran a guilt-tripping article entitled “Why your hamburger hates America.” According to the Post, the humble burger is the product of incalculable sins: “big agriculture” driving out family farms, centralization in the meat-packing industry, unfair treatment of laborers harvesting tomatoes and onions, and Wal-Mart’s apparent domination of the hamburger-bun market. The piece repeated the well-debunked myth that lower-income people don’t have access to fresh vegetables like lettuce. The agitprop tried to ground itself with passing references to Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the 1862 Homestead Act, the point apparently being that you cannot be a real patriot unless you support every fashionably left-wing cause.
Such strident critics miss the point of the holiday. Independence Day is an annual ritual reconfirming the ideals of freedom on which the country was founded. As John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail at the time, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence represents “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” It ought to be “commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty” and “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
By its nature, July 4 is idealistic and optimistic. It doesn’t commemorate the victorious end of the American independence movement but its risky beginning. It’s a day to revisit the nation’s founding, to re-energize and celebrate the civic myths that unify the Republic. It’s not the type of day that will appeal to cynical old leftists but is a vital aspect of the education of America’s children. The cookouts, the ball games, the “pomp and parade,” these are the products of the liberty claimed in 1776. They are the heritage bequeathed by the Founders, renewed and sustained with each passing generation. The act of celebrating the Fourth acknowledges the essence of what it means to be an American. Let the flame of freedom burn in every heart, and every grill.
James S. Robbins is senior editorial writer for foreign affairs at The Washington Times and author of the forthcoming, “Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism, and the New American Identity” (Encounter, August 2012).
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James S. Robbins, Ph.D., former Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs, was formerly professor of international relations at the National Defense University, associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. Dr. Robbins is author of the recently released “This Time ...
- ROBBINS: One nation, divisible
- ROBBINS: Making July 4 unpatriotic
- ROBBINS: The coming American counterrevolution
- ROBBINS: Leftists hijack the Founding Fathers
- ROBBINS: The 'Do the right thing' Congress
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
Get Breaking Alerts
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'