Right Opinion

How to Salvage a Pandemic Independence Day

Josh Hammer · Jul. 3, 2020

Although July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day due to it being the day in 1776 the Continental Congress approved the final text of Jefferson’s Declaration, the actual independence vote was on July 2 of that same epochal year. Accordingly, on July 3, John Adams sent a famous letter to his beloved wife, Abigail, in which he predicted how American progeny would annually rejoice at the anniversary of their forefathers’ proclaimed independence from the British Crown.

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival,” the future second president wrote. “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Many of Adams’ epistolary predictions — including our ritual fireworks as modern-day “Bonfires and Illuminations” across the land — have proved prescient. But in 2020, as a nation in the throes of a pandemic, grappling with a fiery national debate about its own moral self-worth, Independence Day threatens to look quite a bit different than years past. Local parades are canceled, fireworks demonstrations shelved and revelrous gatherings forever consigned to the coronavirus’ tragic ash heap.

Amidst this backdrop, it would be far too easy to either resort to depression about America’s long-term prospects and enduring value or to simply ignore the holiday altogether. Both must be avoided. On the contrary, it is incumbent upon patriotic Americans to seize upon such a unique set of circumstances and do their parts to spend the day inculcating national pride and imbuing their lives with a renewed commitment to the civil society’s mutually interdependent bonds of citizenry.

This Saturday morning, from the socially distanced confines of their own homes, families should arise and dress in coordinated red, white and blue. If a flag is nearby, families should recite the Pledge of Allegiance — including the “under God” proviso added, under President Dwight Eisenhower’s shepherding, in response to Cold War-era atheist Communism. Parents might then consider reading the entirety of the Declaration of Independence to their children. Parents should then read the entirety of the Constitution itself — an exercise that, while longer, still ought to take less than an hour. Special emphasis should be placed on the founders’ ingenious securing of a governmental structure that, as the Preamble states, exists to “establish justice” and “secure the blessings of liberty.”

It is important that impressionable youngsters, filled as they are with monstrous mendacities like The New York Times’ “1619 Project” and the regime-level threats like contemporary identity politics, comprehend the intrinsic justness and righteousness of the American system of governance. That is a system which, while imperfect, has always strived ever-closer toward realizing the Declaration’s enunciated ideals “that all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The obfuscation of the multiculturalism fetishists, aided and abetted by pseudo-Marxist institutional actors such as Black Lives Matter, must be repelled by injecting straight into the citizenry’s veins the incontrovertible, noble (if concededly not yet fully realized) truths about America’s founding.

Following such a patriotic morning, families might consider safe, socially distanced interactions with neighbors and local townsfolk. America is predicated upon a liberal dedication to what Lincoln called the Declaration’s history, loyal to and reliant upon one another due to a shared commitment to overarching cultural, civic and religious norms. The founders understood that philosophical paeans could only take a republic so far; it takes tangible human bonds of symbiotic citizenry to prolong and preserve a nation. Put more simply: To the extent local social distancing norms permit, families ought to get out and (safely) socialize and enjoy the company of their countrymen. Even acts so small as saying hi to a neighbor doing yardwork, when replicated, have sizable impact.

At a time when the American regime is under siege by insurrectionist forces attempting to effectuate a soft coup, it is easy to be disheartened by the fact we will miss out on some traditional festivities that characterize the year’s most patriotic holiday. But conscientious patriots can, and must, salvage the day’s meaning — and, in so doing, do their parts to prolong the spirit of 1776 itself.

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