Independence Day has been a far more somber holiday for me and many others for many years, more akin to sitting around drinking after the funeral of a friend who used to be hearty and hale but in his later years became weak and frightened. We try to remember him as he once was in his health, not how he was in his dying days.
Gone are the recollections of the history of heritage Americans and the declaring of their independence from England. We don't even call it Independence Day anymore, just "The Fourth Of July" as if the date is just randomly chosen to get a day off so we can grill burgers.
The thing about Independence Day and what it celebrates is that it is an entirely White male achievement. The famous painting of the presenting of the draft of the Declaration to the Congress by John Trumbull is noteworthy for what it doesn't include: there are no women, no "people of color", no transvestites or Jews or Muslims. Just a bunch of White men.
The history people my age and older grew up with was a White male history.
- White men signed the Declaration of Independence and fought a revolution to win their independence from England.
- White men crafted the Constitution and the subsequent Bill of Rights
- White men fought on both sides of a Civil War that claimed to be waged to preserve the Union and along the way ended up freeing the slaves, their descendants now taking credit for the freedom won by the shed blood of White men.
- White men explored the continent, pushed westward and settled what is now know as the United States by sheer force of will and the shedding of much of our own blood.
- White men fought in every major war we have waged and won, and it is not a coincidence that since integrating the military we have failed to win any war against a peer or near-peer. Something to consider as our "leaders" keep pushing us toward war with Russia.
- White men are responsible for virtually every scientific and medical advancement, every law, every achievement in American history. From landing on these shores to landing men on the moon, it has been an accomplishment of White men.
The history of these United States is a history of, by and for White men. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution reads:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
To ourselves and our posterity. Try explaining to the Founding Fathers that being American would one day mean anyone who managed to be born in our country and they would have said you were mad.
This is the flavor of history we had when I grew up, a story of sacrifice and courage by men with everything to lose, as told by the great Paul Harvey.
It is hard to imagine any modern voice speaking with such deep respect and reverence for a bunch of old, dead, White men. Now they are racists, misogynists and slave owners. The Republic they sacrificed so much for is now in the grave alongside them.
As America slides rapidly into minority-majority status, Independence Day will mean less and less to each successive generation of increasingly non-White citizens. Why shouldn't it? The story of America isn't their story, they contributed basically nothing to our founding and the development of America as the greatest country on Earth. Independence Day has no real historical significance for blacks or Chinese, mestizos or Jews. Hell there was only a single Catholic signer of the Declaration, most were Episcopalian/Anglican, Congregationalist or Presbyterian. It is interesting that the current Supreme Court has six Catholics, only two Protestants, and one Jew.
It only makes sense that a first generation Mexican immigrant or a Somali refugee would have no clue what Independence Day was really all about or have any sort of positive feelings about it. It isn't their day and never will be.
Just as the day is losing any meaning, the principles that inspired the Declaration of Independence mean less to each successive generation of America. Try asking a young person today what these words mean:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness....
Good luck. You might get a reasonable answer from a smart kid from a good school but Da'quan or Mohammad from some inner-city slaughterhouse of a high school? Forget about it.
It is nice to get a day off, and shoot off some fireworks, but this day has otherwise lost all meaning, all solemnity and all significance. It is just a relic of a nation that no longer exists, an annual funeral service where we drink toasts and offer amusing anecdotes about a dearly departed friend.
Perhaps the remnants of the American people will one day have cause to celebrate anew their independence from Tyrants, Despots and Usurpers. Let us hope so in order that the light of liberty may never be lost from this world.