Our Wonderful Irreverence

I love the Fourth. Today is for our independent streak and the curve of my appreciation for what history has stacked on the shoulders of American independence has pretty dramatically steepened in the last few years.

Of course, the stone legend structure of our founding has rightfully become cracked in places, and flaky. To recognize the true original condition of our freedoms we have to face dual truths - our freedoms were heralded into existence by a slaving society; we built our capitol with the yoked labor of slave pits; we held the promise flood of suffrage to a trickle for more than a century.

Our national project suffers a litany of dark dualities, but we are also the standard bearers of at least this most beautiful dichotomy: We practice solemn remembrance of people before us who taught us how to be irreverent in the face of self-asserting, illiberal powers. Not perfectly, not uniquely; there are other freedoms like it. But this one is ours.

We hang our house in all the trappings of reverence: we put our palms on memorial walls and headstones; we take great writings of our history down from the shelf, remember speeches whose national moment secured our freedom. We surrender them our reverence.

We also wear American-flag jorts. We fix red, white, and blue jello-shots. We put star-shaped shades on our dogs and inflate diapered avatars of our sitting President.

And it's all sacred. Our stake is a place for retreat from any illiberal force that would confiscate the instruments of liberty from our neighbor. We are irreverent to those forces and that practice may be our most solemn conviction, even if always embattled.

So thank you, America. Happy Birthday, and keep being your bad-ass self.

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