July 5, 2022

JOYLESS ON THE FOURTH:

Your guts feel like they’re about to burst. You’re hungover. Your clothes smell like you’ve survived the battle of the Somme. The ordnance’s still smoldering husks litter the yard, and there’s ketchup in places ketchup should never be. These are the discomforts of July 5, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Those of you who spent the Fourth of July celebrating the 246th anniversary of America’s independence might have overindulged a bit, but with good reason. It’s a time to celebrate the miracle of self-government, the world’s oldest operating Constitution, and the infinitely complex continental republic that covenant preserves. It’s a day to take a break from the labors that accompany the responsibilities of citizenship and the agonies of our country’s imperfections. The Fourth is a day to admire the American experiment with revelry and carefree joy.

If you’re capable of that sort of compartmentalization, you should be grateful. Not everyone is comfortable making a cognitive divorce from the horrors of daily life, even for a few precious moments. Failing to dwell on America’s deficiencies and the distinctions that divide us, some believe, is an abdication of your responsibility to work toward erasing those blemishes. Even holidays—especially those that emphasize the nobility of the American mission—are an abrogation of your duty to be miserable in solidarity with those in misery. The Fourth of July is no exception.

How miserable? This miserable: “Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes called the founding of the United States ‘awful’ and said the country must take steps to ‘repair the harm’ through education, according to a video of his comments. ‘Things were bad. Things were terrible. The founding of this nation? Awful,’ said Barnes in a video clip of his remarks from a question-and-answer session in Portage, Wis., on August 19, 2021. ‘The impacts are felt today; they’re going to continue to be felt unless we address it in a meaningful way.’”

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