Celebrating Independence Day is going to get sweeter every year from here on out. Why is that? Because, rather than being merely the marking of America’s founding as a sovereign nation, free from foreign tyranny, it has now become a tradition that just irritates the bejeezus out of a certain group of malcontents. After all, if doing something offends or upsets absolutly no-one, then it’s probably not worth doing. Isn’t that one of life’s golden rules? It isn’t? Well, perhaps it should be.
Humans learn at a very young age that the most fun one can have is doing something that has been forbidden by those in authority. This is an eternal and universal truth. It’s like the big red button often featured in cartoons; the one with a sign above it that reads: “Do not push this button.” What are the odds that the button isn’t going to get pushed? Zero.
For children, “those in authority” means parents and teachers. For adults, it means politicians, and since nobody really likes politicians – except other politicians, and even they don’t always get on very well – it stands to reason that when an elected official lectures the public on things that they shouldn’t be doing, those become precisely the things that people want to do.
Want Some Cheese With That Whine?
From the moment that the first progressive Karen started complaining about Confederate statues – even though they have stood unmolested across the country for many, many years – every observer of political trends knew how things were going to play out: After the monuments to Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Jefferson Davis were removed, the left’s ire would be redirected against the Confederate battle flag, and then the statues of the Founding Fathers, and ultimately, the U.S. flag itself and other symbols and traditions that signify American patriotism.
Thus did it all play out. Progressives are nothing, if not predictable. And to what has each of these bursts of outrage led? The statue demolitions were protested – and not just by “white supremacists.” The flags, both Confederate and U.S., have enjoyed renewed popularity among those Americans who wish to signal their resistance to progressive dictates on history and tradition.
Apparently, the political left refuses to learn the lesson: Make a big – and very public – deal about how awful something is and everyone who doesn’t share your ideology is going to celebrate that thing with even more gusto. Just ask Donald Trump.
Misery Loves Company
All this brings us neatly back to July 4. It is a day, first and foremost, that celebrates the one thing the left hates and fears most: violent resistance to the denial of individual liberty. As if that weren’t bad enough, it is also a day on which most Americans like to do things of which progressives appear to strongly disapprove; they like to enjoy themselves, have fun, and hang out with friends and family.
From the famous Old English poem, Beowulf:
“Grendel, the monster, is seized with hateful jealousy. He cannot brook the sounds of joyance that reach him down in his fen-dwelling near the hall. Oft and anon he goes to the joyous building, bent on direful mischief.”
Ring any bells? It really does seem, more and more, as if the activist part of the American left-wing is populated entirely by people filled with loathing and jealousy; they cannot be content, so why should anyone else? Since they have now so firmly convinced themselves – and are trying to convince others – that America, as a country, embodies the very worst of human excess, founded to perpetuate the subjugation of one race by another. They can no longer celebrate this singularly historic day and remain true to the principles they claim to hold.
That’s all well and good. Everyone is free to celebrate Independence Day, or not, as they choose. The left’s need to put a damper on it for everyone else, though, is – and there is no other way to put this – petty. It’s that one kid who gets annoyed because he is on the losing team, and so he takes his ball and goes home, denying his friends the opportunity to continue the game.
No, We’re Not All in This Together
No progressives have abandoned America, though, despite its allegedly awful history, values, and general conduct. As the wonderful Harvey Korman’s character, Hedley Lamarr, said in Blazing Saddles, Instead of the people leaving, they’re staying in droves.
To avoid further compounding their misery – and out of respect for their delicate sensibilities – do not invite these people to July 4 get-togethers. Spare them the discomfort of having to endure displays of patriotism by excluding them entirely from all festivities. Does this attitude seem divisive, combative, or confrontational? That is as it should be, when honoring the day that celebrates the ultimate success of the American Revolution, which wasn’t exactly a Kumbaya, Woodstock, flowers in our hair kind of thing.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.