Thoughts on the Fourth of July
by PAM MEISTER
July 4, 2013
The Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day, is upon us. Many of us are planning picnics, trips to the beach or trips to the mall to take advantage of the inevitable Fourth of July sale. The occasional display of patriotism will also be on hand as communities across the nation put on fireworks shows - something I tend to avoid. Not because I don't like fireworks, but it's mainly due to my lack of patience with the wall to wall traffic that accompanies them.
However, my reason sounds a lot more reasonable than the reason given by "progressive" teacher Bill Bigelow, who has declared his own little fatwa on fireworks. Why?
"Apart from the noise pollution, air pollution, and flying debris pollution, there is something profoundly inappropriate about blowing off fireworks at a time when the United States is waging war with real fireworks around the world. To cite just one example, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London found recently that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan alone have killed more than 200 people, including at least 60 children. And, of course, the U.S. war in Afghanistan drags on and on. The pretend war of celebratory fireworks thus becomes part of a propaganda campaign that inures us-especially the children among us-to the real wars half a world away."
If "progressive" teachers spent more time teaching and less time spouting off their liberal claptrap, perhaps our students wouldn't be lagging behind other developed nations in important subjects such as math and science.
Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll hear someone discussing the merits of freedom that our Founders espoused and for which our forefathers shed blood, sweat and tears. Of course, freedom is something we all enjoy but don't fully appreciate. A great example of this is AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who said this week:
Let's call this right-wing "freedom" catch phrase what it really is: a grossly political strategy to dupe the public, which holds the word "freedom" as something sacred.
Yes, freedom is a catch phrase used to con the rubes in flyover states. I suppose, though, that what really fries his bacon is that public sector workers in Wisconsin are now free to choose whether or not to join unions, rather than having their wages garnished at proverbial gunpoint.
Meanwhile, Egyptians are now finding out what the Arab Spring truly has in store for them after the Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency in that nation - we are hearing about stories like this one, where a young man was killed by religious zealots for merely walking in public with his fiancée. Or this one, where we learn the true perils women face under radical Muslim Brotherhood rule.
But blowhards like Trumka are busy whining about political catchphrases and the like.
Only in America.
Patriotism, it seems, is becoming harder and harder to find these days. Effete latte-sipping elitists believe overt patriotism like flag-waving is uncool at best and "corporatized, Orwellian symbols of state power and pride" at worst.
A few years back, Right Wing News posted something entitled "The Best Quotes from the Left Since 9/11," and I thought I'd share a few of the juicier ones with you here:
"America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself. Has there ever been a big, powerful country that is as patriotic as America? And patriotic in the tinniest way, with so much flag waving? You'd really think we were some poor little republic, and that if one person lost his religion for one hour, the whole thing would crumble. America is the real religion in this country." - Norman Mailer
"My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war." - Katha Pollitt, The Nation, October 8
"While the rest of the country waves the flag of Americana, we understand we are not part of that. We don't owe America anything - America owes us." - Al Sharpton at the "State of the Black World Conference" in Atlanta
Are they right? Should we forget the flag, Mom and apple pie and behave more like the "citizens of the world" the Left so desperately want us to be? "UN über alles" could be our new international anthem, and we could fly UN flags from our homes instead of Old Glory.
Thomas Sowell wonders: does patriotism matter? He relates the success during the 1920s and 1930s of French teachers' unions to purge classrooms of texts that depicted any courage or self-sacrifice in that country's defense against the German invaders during World War I - replacing them with books that encouraged internationalism and pacifism. Soldiers were no longer heroes but victims, as were their families.
The result? Despite their superior firepower and strength, France surrendered to the Nazis after just six weeks:
At the outset of the invasion, both German and French generals assessed French military forces as more likely to gain victory, and virtually no one expected France to collapse like a house of cards - except Adolf Hitler, who had studied French society instead of French military forces.
In American classrooms today, multiculturalism and moral relativism abound. While our nation's history should be presented, warts and all, it seems as though the warts grow bigger with each passing day. You know, Columbus was responsible for genocide, the dead white men who founded our nation were a bunch of clods, and America was the only country in the history of the world that participated in slavery. And other countries, including those whose governments oppress their peoples (I'm sure you can think of a few) are presented as merely different or their actions watered down due to outside pressure from special interest groups. "It's all good" seems to be the motto of the day.
Will the "It's all good" philosophy serve the next generation in good stead? Or will they collapse like the French when challenged? We'll have to see.
I guess I'm just not with it. Despite being bombarded with anti-American rhetoric from everyone from know-it-all Europeans to know-it-all American politicians to know-it-all Hollywood celebs, I'm proud to fly the American flag and I get emotional when I hear "The Star Spangled Banner." I salute our troops and thank them for the difficult job they undertake to protect the freedoms of all Americans - even those who don't appreciate what they have.
These days, though, it's a little hard to feel fortunate to live in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. What with ObamaCare being deemed Constitutional (thanks, Justice Roberts), American citizens who are wary of centralized government being characterized as "extreme right wing terrorists" by the DHS, and the EPA using drones to spy on ranchers, things feel a little less...well, free, to use the word that Richard Trumka seems to dread so much.
However, I haven't given up yet. I still thank my lucky stars for the men who, back in 1776, signed a document that started the grandest political experiment in modern history. If that makes me "obscenely infatuated" as Norman Mailer says, then so be it. I'd rather be rabidly patriotic than inflicted with a mortal case of self-hatred.
God bless America. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Pam Meister's current interest in politics and world events goes back to the events of 9/11, when she made a conscious decision to contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding America's soverignty and foreign policy. Other samples of her writing can be seen at American Thinker and Pajamas Media. Pam is also a former radio broadcaster, and has worked in both the publishing and healthcare industries. Her debut novel, Only Son, is available on Amazon.