What is your fondest memory of the 4th of July?
For me, a first-generation immigrant to the United States of America, it is a barbecue first. And fireworks, but I’ve detested them – ever since my dad educated me with “Hey look! There’s a $5 note burning. There’s a $10 note exploding in sparks and smoke. There’s a 20 shooting up into the sky, lost forever in a blaze of fire.” A barbecue stays with you, a pleasant memory, provided the sauces are good.
Now, older and with a more thoughtful bent of mind, it is the preamble to the original Declaration of Independence of the founding of this nation.
More specifically, it is these words: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a desire to reduce them under absolute despotism…” I am reminded that the forefathers fought resolutely against the subjugation of a population to the whims and dictates of any man – and that this is the day they declared their freedom from such tyranny. They did so in a document filled with the ideals that they hoped this nation, as one people, could grow into.
Neither they nor their union of colonies was perfect. Such perfection, they hoped, could be achieved through hard work and industry, and steadfast adherence to a Constitution and a system of governance they established with the founding of this nation. A union, freed from tyranny, founded as a nation of laws.
And this, exactly, is what is in grave peril at the moment. A demagogue, chosen by a mesmerized mob titillated by his racism, barefaced lies, bravado, and flouting of ethics and principles, now usurps every power of this co-equal system of governance unto himself. The rest of his innumerable offences are all in plain view…and those who disclose them are branded “enemies of the people.”
He demands – in stark contrast with the conduct and humility of so many before him – glorification by a Military Parade on this day. Tanks, he demands, and planes, soldiers, all marching in a show presided over by…himself. And he makes this a ticketed, paid, event for those who can pay. He forces hierarchy upon the people in a celebration for the people.
He is a showman and a conman…and he is the greatest peril for this nation.
What will the next Fourth of July bring?