The title quote is from this post, which is all about an echo from a distant and forgotten era:
Skelton was a household favorite of my family’s back when I was but a wee bairn, but I don’t really recollect this priceless bit. His closing quote is chillingly prescient, since the future he laments is precisely what has come to pass. Worse, actually, since, once having exiled “under God” from public discourse, they did the same to the Pledge entire. Skelton, like most of his generation, would be simply appalled at what we have allowed ourselves and our country to become. That said, though, I still do hold the following truths to be, umm, self-evident:
American military, economic and cultural power dominates the world (you’ve never heard of the biggest movie made by China or France this year, but they’ve certainly heard of “Avengers: Endgame”). America leads the world in Nobel laureates, and it isn’t close. America leads the world in the success of our middle class, and it isn’t close. True, America has more poor people than some other countries — but that’s because we let in millions of people from poor countries. Saying “America has a poverty problem” is like saying, “Florida has a high death rate.” Florida doesn’t kill people, it just attracts a lot of old ones.
“What about slavery?” is not an irrelevant question to ask about American history. Slavery is indeed our original sin. It’s important. We fought a war over it. You may have heard of it.
But to think of slavery first when you think of American history is like thinking of Charles Manson first when you think of men. America accomplished a few good things as well. America is a radical idea that had never come close to being implemented before — a broad-based democracy with government engineered for the purpose of zealously protecting our natural, or God-given, rights. We zoomed out ahead of the rest of the world, and we never looked back. As late as 1870, only 40% of the men in Britain were entitled to vote. Voting in America was not universal until women got the vote in 1920, but the US was miles ahead of everybody else in allowing its people to be heard.
Even more important, the US was and is miles ahead when it comes to allowing its people to speak. In Britain, people can and do get thrown in jail for things they’ve said on Twitter. (The 2003 Communications Act makes it a crime to type mean things on the internet. No, you don’t get a break for being young, or drunk, or for thinking you’re being darkly funny. The police actually monitor social media looking for people to arrest.) A 2014 headline in The Guardian reads, “Is it right to jail someone for being offensive on Facebook or Twitter?” No, it isn’t right. It is in fact quite wrong, and in America it is unthinkable because we have the world’s strongest protections for speech.
Don’t take it from me; ask the world. A Gallup survey notes that 150 million people, or one out of 25 adults on the planet, would move to the US if they could. That’s more than the next four countries combined. “America remains unusually attractive to people from all over the world — in a way to which no other country compares,” Gallup reported.
Everybody knows America is number one, which is why, even among the hating class of Americans, no one ever leaves. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Spike Lee haven’t moved to France. Gavin Newsom isn’t moving to Mexico. Colin Kaepernick isn’t moving to Cuba. Lena Dunham, Bryan Cranston, Barbra Streisand and all the other celebrities who threatened/promised to move to Canada are still here. Hell, we can’t even get the Canadian-born whiners and haters (like Seth Rogen and Jim Carrey) to move back.
America didn’t complete the project of freedom on that broiling day in Philly, but that’s like saying your kid’s first day of school is no big deal because your kids can’t do algebra yet. On July 4, 1776, we began setting up the greatest opportunity for human flourishing the world has ever known, and our example continues to be the world’s beacon. The United States of America isn’t perfect. We’re merely the best.
As the man said: sometimes she breaks my heart. But I still can’t help but love her anyway. You may think me a gullible fool for that; you may be right about that, too. But I wish you all a joyous Independence Day just the same.
Update! Bryan Preston puts paid to all the whining about slavery:
Colin Kaepernick’s history teachers should be ashamed of themselves. They either failed to teach him real history, or they succeeded in indoctrinating him into a false political narrative. Either way, he was short-changed and missed out on one of history’s greatest stories. To associate the 1776 American flag with slavery is to miss the purpose and genius of the American Revolution.
The former football player turned well-paid corporate activist put the kibosh on a special edition Nike shoe because it sported the Betsy Ross flag on the heel. I’m sure you’ve heard that much. Kaepernick’s reason, which I’m sure you’ve also heard, is that in his mind the 1776-era American flag “represents an era associated with slavery.”
That’s so clueless it’s difficult to know where to start. Slavery was abhorrent and did exist in the colonial era, and for decades afterward. Slavery existed for millennia before there were any colonists in America, and unfortunately, it still exists now. Slavery did not solely exist in America in 1776. It was not uniquely American. And the American Revolution was not fought for or about slavery.
Know what I truly love about this, though? Moronic liberal killjoys have now put themselves in the position of protesting against the 4th of July, and trying to ruin everyone else’s enjoyment of it. Just another fine example of my “WE HATE YOU, VOTE FOR US!!” concept.
Party down update! How to do the Fourth right—and do right by the 4th, too.
Before you say, “I wish people would pay more respect for our nation on July 4th, rather than just lighting fireworks or getting drunk,” it might be useful to remember that George Washington celebrated the second anniversary of Independence Day by giving his soldiers extra rations of rum. If that’s not enough, here is what John Adams said about Independence Day in 1776, before the first one was even celebrated: “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
I get as annoyed as anyone with people who seem to believe that the point of Memorial Day is swimming pools and mattress sales, or that the point of Christmas is shopping. But we are doing exactly the right thing by having as big a party, as John Adams first suggested in 1776. And if George Washington encouraged his soldiers to get a bit tipsy, what’s wrong with that?
Nothing. The real problem–the difference between us and George Washington & Co.–is that they knew what to do the other 364 days of the year.
For just a moment, today, it might be wise to inject a drop of perspective into the froth of festivities (and beer), and consider what we should be doing to keep the spirit of 1776 alive. I think a good way to start is by recalling what George Washington suggested we do.
Read all of it.
MAKE DISHWASHERS GREAT AGAIN update! Modern America in microcosm.
In 1978, the average dishwasher only took an hour to wash plates, cups, and silverware. By 2014, the average time had increased to between 2 and 3 hours, despite advancements in technology. The culprit? Federal regulation. Yet on Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) under Secretary Rick Perry granted a petition to consider new standards to make dishwashers great again. More than 2,000 Americans supported the petition, launched by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
What ails America, in one easy-to-understand graph:
A grateful nation turns its weary eyes to Trump:
The Trump administration’s decision to act on CEI’s petition represents clear progress for consumer choice and America’s families. While the agency is not dropping the previous rules that forced manufacturers to slow down their dishwashers, the new rules will allow newer models that run more quickly by using more water and electricity.
“The DOE decision to add this new class of dishwashers will substantially expand the availability of dishwasher choices to the consumer,” Watkins told PJ Media on Wednesday. “Currently there are only two dishwasher regulatory standards, a compact and a standard dishwasher standard. This means most dishwashers are under a one-size-fits all limit that the amount of water and energy dishwashers use.”
“A change like the one DOE just granted could present substantial new options for consumers looking to get a dishwasher that can clean dishes quickly for consumers,” he added. Thanks to this new rule, “we have the potential to vastly improve the options to consumers to clean dishes quickly.”
As part of the consideration process, DOE published the proposed rule, allowing Americans to comment on it. A whopping 2,297 Americans commented on the rule, almost entirely praising it.
Another in a long, long list of unsung accomplishments that gives the lie to those who fond of complaining about his having achieved nothing of value. No, he ain’t perfect. Yes, there are important problems he hasn’t yet won out on or adequately addressed. BUT…has he lived up to my own expectations overall? Yep. Would I like to see him be more aggressive and confrontational? Absolutely. Do I see even one single other soul out there likely do better? No. Would I prefer one of the 27 Dwarves—or Egg McMuffin, or David French— in 2020? Not on your life.
Just keep slogging away at it, Mr President, and you’ll continue to have my support. After so many years of defeat and betrayal, I’ll take those small victories every time, thanks.