Friday, July 3, 2009

Old Glory

This weekend we Americans celebrate the 233rd birthday of the United States with backyard beer, brats and bunting. Ours is a wonderful country, we believe, a shining City on a Hill, an example to all mankind.

But that exceptionalism so dear to our hearts is a pernicious myth that hides a host of crimes. Behind our flag we have polluted the planet and denied the overwhelming science that warns against global warming. We refuse habeas corpus to captured enemies we have tortured needlessly. We meddle militarily in the affairs of other nations behind the ill-conceived notion of "national security." Some of us want to keep out immigrants of color. Some of us want everyone to believe in their particular god.

We're not perfect and we should not strut down the street as if we were.

The Fourth ought to be a day of humility as well as pride, a day of reflection as well as celebration. We are a great nation but we could be ever so much better.


  1. On the other hand you did give us Ben and Jerry's!

  2. Humility, indeed!

    The sad thing is that we were the shining beacon on the hill, but we clearly have lost our way.

    I won't turn this into a political rant -- oh, yes, it's tempting! -- but the fact is that we have long been abusers of the planet, and of less fortunate peoples and nations.

    Now the tide is turning; America's "century" -- blessed by accidents of resources and location -- appears to be over. Let us pray we receive better treatment than those we exploited in the past.

  3. Great piece Henry ----Amen. "Bill" DuBois Kathy Pam's daughter who served as a convoy gun truck driver in Irag,writes this on her Face Book wall " Super patriostisn is a disguise for terrorism

  4. I couldn't have said it better myself.

  5. Thomas Jefferson had an understandable fear of the notion of standing armies. One would wonder what he would think, not only of the meddling in the affairs of other countries, but bases in every far-flung country as well.