The Fourth is one of my favorite holidays as a time when citizens should put aside our differences and focus on the freedoms that unite us. After weeks of protests and calls for reform, there is much that must be done to heal this country. However, the American Republic was always meant to be a work in progress. We have the ability to change our society but our constitutional system remains the greatest vehicle of justice and equality in the world. This holiday unfortunately shows how our differences threaten to overwhelm our common article of faith in this representative democracy. There is more than unites us than divides us and this holiday is a reminder of that transcendent fact. Many of us will join today to celebrate these United States and its history and values. My family will celebrate with a cookout and, of course, lots and lots of fireworks.
We will have a traditional cookout of burgers and dogs with homemade pies and other delights. One of my sons intends to make a red, white, and blue lava cake for the occasion with flowing raspberry lava. Who needs fireworks on the mall when you have a red, white, and blue flowing lava cake?
I truly love this holiday because it ideally celebrates what we have in common as opposed to what divides us. For all of our faults and failures, we have triumphed over great evils from without and within. The Framers gave us a system that has withstood it all through the test of time and turmoil. It will withstand these days and we will find a course forward as a nation.
As a Madisonian scholar, you will have to forgive my quoting James Madison from Essays for the National Gazette, 1792:
“In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example … of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world, may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness.”
Happy Fourth everyone.