An Independence Day littered with turmoil
In the spirit of the republic’s 244th birthday, I had intended to write a column on what makes the United States extraordinary, focusing on our uniqueness and our ability to overcome hardships and adversities. I expected to zero in on the defining factors that separate this nation from the rest. I planned to point specifically to the brilliance of the concepts resonating from the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the entirety of the Constitution. My goal was to pen something that would be without controversy, denoting only the qualities that make America and Americans the greatest society this world has ever known.
My strategy was to target individual freedoms, highlighting the ongoing opportunities every American citizen enjoys, extrapolating on the enduring phrase handwritten by our Founding Fathers: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This miraculous oath changed history forever, etching itself into the souls of every man, woman, and child whose hope and resolve were to better their own existence through hard work and sacrifice. The great men who signed off on this document risked everything — mutually pledging to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Men like Washington, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson, brimming with heroic genius, stared into the abyss and navigated the treacherous landscapes with foresight and wisdom never witnessed before or since.
I was also hoping to spend some time praising the symbolism of "Old Glory” and paying special tribute to the 400,000 heroes resting forever at Arlington National Cemetery. It would have been an honor to write about all of it, but I was quick to realize that hidden within the seemingly benign first few paragraphs readers could conceivably be outraged by my references to the symbolic manifestation of emancipation. See if you can spot my callousness.
The fourth of July normally means a celebration brimming with cold beverages, Fenway Franks and fireworks, but the 2020 version of the Salute to America came complete with disdain and antagonism. Instead of stories of patriotism, Independence Day was littered with descriptions of turmoil.
Non-Patriotic Story Number One: Colin Kaepernick, with yet another axe to grind, slammed the Fourth of July as a “celebration of white supremacy” and tweeted,"Black people have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized and terrorized by America for centuries and are expected to join your commemoration of 'independence' while you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy and look forward to liberation for all." Racism is on life support, and I'm convinced it will be dead within a generation, but true hate speech like this is the perfect recipe to keep it alive.
Number Two: Outside of the White House on July 4th, far-left protesters burned American flags and chanted, "America was never great." The symbol of freedom revered by the world reduced to ashes on Independence Day.
Number Three: In Waterbury, vandals must have persuaded either Merlin or the Lady in the Lake to hand over King Arthur's Excalibur. Other than sorcery, how else would pillagers successfully decapitate a 12-foot granite statue of Christopher Columbus? When all the offensive statues are laid waste, will the problems within the Black communities vanish? If knocking over a few General Lee monuments expeditiously ends neighborhood violence and drug addiction, and curiously coincides with the celebratory reunion of fatherless Black families, then I'm all for busting the marble effigies.
Number Four:The NFL has proclaimed they will play two anthems prior to the start of all of their week one football games. “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem, would open up the festivities, followed immediately by "The Star-Spangled Banner.” By definition isn't the National Anthem the anthem of all United States citizens? A Black national anthem would be in direct contrast to that ideal and thus by definition divisive. The song is actually a compelling ballad promoting hope, heaven and harmony, and should be recognized as a standalone melody, not an adjective to the country's anthem.
Peaceful objections and protest can be patriotic, but hate for hate's sake divides. America no longer deals in the savagery of slavery or genocide. We have been the world leader in establishing equal rights and, although racism still exists, it’s less systematic and more episodic. What's the statute of limitations on crimes committed 10 generations ago? Maybe next Independence Day I can write something positive.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.
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