The Fourth of July is over, and despite most of America taking great joy in celebrating our independence and freedom, many members of the American Left are glad that what they consider to be an unseemly spasm of over-hyped jingoism is finally over. For these oh-so-enlightened and morally superior souls, a racist and irredeemably imperialist America is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Independence Day is thus a time for commemorating their hatred of the country and waving it for all to see.
The late leftist historian Howard Zinn’s work was given a platform by The Progressive magazine in 2010, when they trotted out his 2006 screed, “Put Away the Flags.” “On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blesse[d],” Zinn wrote. “Is not nationalism–that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder–one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?”
Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild wrote an equally obnoxious “me too” piece that same year, “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4.” “You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic,” he whines. He continues:
I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it: Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism. And patriotism is but the father of nationalism. Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties. It gulls people into believing their leaders. It masks those who benefit most from state policy. And it destroys the ability of people to get together, within the United States and across boundaries, to take on those with the most power: the multinational corporation. Plus, it’s a war toy, wheeled out whenever a leader needs to improve his ratings by attacking some other country–often after invoking God’s name, too.
Rothschild’s solution? “We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.”
That American superiority complex, better known as American exceptionalism, has made this nation a beacon of liberty throughout the world. It is America’s patriots, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, who have preserved that liberty. That would be the same liberty that allows terminally ungrateful people like the late Zinn and Rothschild to spew their noxious nonsense without fear of imprisonment, or the kind of “reeducation” that occurs in genuinely fascistic societies.
Perhaps what liberals fear the most about Independence Day is contained in a 2011 report by Harvard University. It found that celebrating America’s independence accrues to the interest of Republicans. “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” says the report. It went on to say:
The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party.
Such academic nonsense misses a central reality: the political right has not “appropriated” 237 years of American history, tradition, and culture. The political left has largely abandoned such ideas, an effort emphasized by President Obama himself, who made it clear in 2008 that “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” was an integral part of his agenda.
In 2012, Hollywood celebrities like Chris Rock and Zach Braff reminded Americans that leftists never fail to bring the apparently indelible stain of America’s enduring racism to the Fourth of July table. “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks,” tweeted Rock. “Slaves weren’t freed for another 90 years. So maybe just enjoy some of the fireworks…,” tweeted Braff.
Since they are celebrities, it is unsurprising that these two, along with other like-minded Hollywood luminaries who share the same sentiments, can be so ignorant of history. As black American intellectual Thomas Sowell reminds us, “slaves and enslavers alike have been of every race, religion and nationality.” He also reminds us why people like Rock and Braff remain clueless to that reality. “But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.”
Sowell then offers the clueless a reality check. “If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance,” he writes.
So why does the left persist in flogging America for its past sins? Because they impose 21st century leftist values on historical figures and events, rather than viewing those events within the context of when they occurred. And they do this with a specific purpose in mind. “Those who mine history for sins are not searching for truth but for opportunities to denigrate their own society, or for grievances that can be cashed in today, at the expense of people who were not even born when the sins of the past were committed,” Sowell explains.
One of this year’s most disgusting anti-Fourth of July rants comes courtesy of the popular website Gawker. In “Hatetriot’s Day: July 4 Is America’s Crappiest Holiday,” writer Ken Layne insists that “Independence Day is the worst of America’s joyless national celebrations, the day when everyone will predictably act like a buffoon and nobody has the decency to Opt Out.” Layne has nothing but unbridled contempt for the nation’s founding documents:
Today, 237 years since that cursed piece of paper launched a war that killed 50,000, formalized the genocide of indigenous Americans, and locked African slaves into another century of bondage, the Declaration is still little more than a casserole of Enlightenment tropes dumped over the money grudges of the One Percent….But along with the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration has been the subject of more infantile modern-day nationalistic nonsense than all the rest of the world’s legal structures combined.
Few things speak to one’s infantilism better than trashing the very essence of that which gives one the freedom and the opportunity to belittle one’s fellow Americans, and to wallow in one’s self-aggrandizing sense of superiority. Yet perhaps the most telling aspect of all this vitriol is that it is all so predictable and boring. Like Layne, many American leftists are a joyless bunch, terminally uncomfortable with anything resembling gratitude or balance. For them, America’s perceived shortcomings can only be measured against a standard of absolute perfection, as opposed to the performance of other nations around the world. Thus, the preponderance of evidence that points to the greatness of our nation is irrelevant, as long as one factoid of imperfection can be found.
The Fourth of July will forever be anathema to them. For that, they are to be pitied–and then ignored.
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