While I would say that the country is doing much better than it was a year ago, there are still deficiencies in our culture. What can one say when The Onion is a better source of news and opinion than the NYT and WaPo?
Is it any wonder that right-wingers kvetched that Juneteenth would replace the Fourth of July? The country has far to go to live up to the lofty ideals enumerated in the Founding Documents.
Longtime readers will know that one of my all-time favorite songs is Fourth of July by the band X. It's the perfect encapsulation of a malaise gripping a working class couple, which can be extrapolated to encapsulate the malaise gripping the United States: On the lost side of town, in a dark apartment, we gave up trying so long ago.
It seems as if a large percentage of the population gave up trying so long ago, even with something as simple as obtaining a free vaccine... President Biden set a goal of 70% of Americans vaccinated by the Fourth of July, a symbolic goal, allowing large outdoor celebrations to resume. Vaccine acceptance, to a disconcerting degree, falls along political lines, with hardcore Trumpers literally dying to 'own' the libs. We gave up trying so long ago.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the song ends on a hopeful note, with the narrator calling to his partner to shake off her malaise and join in the celebration. Here's the song's writer, Dave Alvin, singing his masterpiece with members of Los Lobos:
We gave up trying so long ago doesn't have to be our motto. There are big problems to tackle, seemingly existential problems such as global warming, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Sure, we can take a day off to celebrate American independence from colonialism (which we have unfortunately imposed on other peoples), but there is work to do. As Dave Alvin would put it, dry your tears and baby, walk outside.
We can work to make this a country which finally lives up to its lofty stated goals.
ADDENDUM: In a case of esprit d'escalier, the term 'Aspirational Holiday' came to mind when I got up to pee- if we fight like hell, maybe this country will actually be a 'sweet land of liberty'.