A Couple of Fourth of July Speeches

Published July 4, 2020

Here is scene from John Adams in which the Declaration of Independence is read publicly for the first time. It still moves me.

And here is the other side of the American founding that white Americans still don’t want to face up to or discuss:

It is idle to ask “Which oratory is true of America?” Both are. The Revolutionaries saw themselves as the oppressed ones in a fight with Britain. Their universe of discourse no more included their black slaves than the universe of discourse of most pro-choice people includes the unborn. They lived in a structure of sin that made it easy for them to not see what they very much did not want to see or think about and made it doubly easy to tell themselves the vile lie that, really, it wasn’t so bad. Asking whether they or the Structure of Sin was to blame for that seems to me like asking which blade on the scissors does the cutting. That’s how structures of sin work.

And that why Frederick Douglass lived forever by the code “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” It is the code of prophets reaching all the way back to Israel. Because it is the duty of the prophet to tell those at ease in Zion, or Athens, or Richmond, or Mar a Lago

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, 
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, 
until her vindication goes forth as brightness, 
and her salvation as a burning torch. 
The nations shall see your vindication, 
and all the kings your glory; 
and you shall be called by a new name 
which the mouth of the LORD will give. 
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, 
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My delight is in her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you, 
and your land shall be married. 
For as a young man marries a virgin, 
so shall your sons marry you, 
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, 
so shall your God rejoice over you. (Is 62:1–5)

What is often overlooked is that the prophets, in addition, to being religious figures, are the most intensely patriotic people in history. It is because they love, not hate, their country and their people that they rage at their country’s sin. They don’t want their country destroyed. They want her perfected, glorious, without any spot or wrinkle. They long, more than anything, for happily ever after, not smoldering ruin. So they put up with a torrent of hostility from their countrymen because they cannot and will not budge from that hope.

Happy Fourth! God bless America, because if he doesn’t, how can she hope to ever get better? After all, she has no virtue of her own to boast of.

22 Responses

  1. I took my kids to the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence by the county bar association on the town square today. However, the entire thing was read, not by attorneys, but by a local aspiring politician and her kids and their friends. She made the news recently when she attended our BLM rally as a counter-protester, the only counter-protester apart from the assault-rifle-armed vigilante who accompanied her (thank you Texas open carry). The lawyer who introduced the readers made a snide remark about the “goons” who want to tear down all our statues. So, during the reading, I walked down and took a picture of them over the Jeff Davis monument on the corner with American flags waving in front. The county judge, who knows me, was watching my little silent protest.

    Last night, I told my (upstanding, white, professional-class) friend that I felt threatened by his insistence that I need to distance myself from the protests because of the coming purge. He told me that he wasn’t threatening me, he was just warning me that, in the civil war he predicts, the police and their allies are going to be much better armed, that my side — the side opposed to law and order — doesn’t have a chance, and that he has a handgun and is about to buy a shotgun. He also wished me a happy Fourth. It hurts because he really is a dear friend of mine and really does just want what’s best for me. I woke up in a panic attack this morning.

    God bless America! She needs it.

  2. And here is the other side of the American founding that white Americans still don’t want to face up to or discuss.

    What do you mean by that? We’ve been discussing that since I was in elementary school in the 1970s. By the time I was in high school and college, that – among the others sins of America – dominated most courses on American history. By the time my boys were in public school in the 00s, the majority of most sections in their American history courses emphasized this and other sins far more than the positives. A great example was their 5th Grade American history book (which we still have). On the Declaration of Independence lesson, only 1/3 of it is about the Declaration of Independence. The rest is on slavery, racism, treatment of Native Americans, discrimination against women, treatment of immigrants, the Civil Rights movement, and a full page lesson on MLK. For decades books, movies, television, news casts have overwhelming focused on this when discussing American history and its founding. Almost all special anniversaries (such as WWII for instance) focus on this and other associated American sins. Since the election of Barrack Obama, the idea that this is our only real defining characteristic has become all but ingrained in our national discourse. So what are you talking about? How much more is supposed to be said?

    1. None suffer as you suffer, Dave. Others discuss race in order to try to finally bring about some justice. You discuss it in order to say there is nothing more to say and to keep anything from ever improving.

      1. I was going to respond with a point by point, but realized that would be a waste of time. That’s for people who want mature discussions. I’ll leave your response alone (I will copy the page for others to see), since it says more about you and your shaky faith in your own leftist opinions than anything I could ever come up with.

      2. Oh, and one thing, just in case someone takes to heart your little accusatory dig at me. I and most I know want justice. We just don’t want to repay evil with evil or throw the baby out with the bathwater. That comes from common sense and seeking the common good, over slavish loyalty to the Left.

      3. Dude. Your entire reply comes down to “Blah blah blah! We’ve heard is all before. What’s the point of talking about it?” It’s a favorite tactic of white racist conservatives for shutting down the conversation. And it’s not working. The irony is that it is you who is absolutely predictable when any aspect of gospel teaching challenge the GOP project. You always come down on the side of passive-aggressive warfare on the gospel and maintenance of the GOP status quo. Always.

      4. Tsk, tsk, tsk. How do you manage to be such a partisan and think dressing it up in a Jesus costume fools anyone? You said something demonstrably false (and something associated with revolutionary movements not to be trusted – never admit victory). Now, if you say there is only one way to speak of this, the Leftist way, then yes, there are plenty – including black Americans – who disagree and refuse to accept that spin. Has nothing to do with political allegiance, but common sense and realism. Try Mark, just try to act like a Christian (we won’t even bother with Catholic) rather than a leftist partisan vomiting the usual bilge based heavily on false accusation and name calling in the manner of a spoiled five year old who believes it’s the leftist agenda, rather than that Jesus rubbish, that saves and redeems. Then we might actually be able to work for things like justice and eliminating what racism continues to the best of our abilities in this fallen world.

      5. @ Dave

        Try Mark, just try to act like a Christian (we won’t even bother with Catholic) rather than a leftist partisan vomiting the usual bilge based heavily on false accusation and name calling in the manner of a spoiled five year old who believes it’s the leftist agenda, rather than that Jesus rubbish, that saves and redeems…

        As always, accusation is confession. Accusation is projection.

    2. “ Since the election of Barrack Obama, the idea that this is our only real defining characteristic has become all but ingrained in our national discourse. So what are you talking about? How much more is supposed to be said?”

      Oh, I don’t know. What does the election of Mr. Obama have to do with a question, except that he wasn’t white? It’s funny, but THE RIGHT has been complaining about this since I was a boy. That song hasn’t changed. But assuming that it is engrained in our national discourse, Who exactly is it that has “ingrained it” international this course? Was it Mr. Soros, Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, the deep state, the derp state, the secret liberal cabal that runs everything from the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington DC, Which allegedly does not actually have a basement?

      If this is ingrained in our national Discourse, As you claim, and if the topic keeps coming up, as it has since I was a boy 50 years ago, Participating in protests against the Vietnam war, is it not just possible that the topic is still a live one? We have a lot of sins to account for in this country. For all the good that our military has done in the world for example, it is also caused a great deal of harm. We have a larger military budget then the next 10 countries combined, and we’re not always using that super power for good.

      Racism is another sin that needs to be confronted, as does the treason committed by the southern states, and their commemoration of a treasonous state that didn’t last as long as The Brady Brunch, and existed solely to justify owning other human beings

      Here’s a small story of a country doing its best to come to terms with it’s past When I was walking in Nurenberg with family a couple of years ago, I saw two large pylon style monuments. Both were put up to commemorate the murder of 250,000 gay people by the Nazis. Though my German was not great, The basic theme of the monument was “never again!“ oh my memories a little foggy, there might even have been the listing of names of men that were from Nurenberg that were murdered. I’m sure that this caused quite a few right wing heads and Nürnberg to explode slightly, as they wondered, so many right wingers do, how the people that they despise most in the world could possibly be remembered in a positive way. But that’s what the government of Nurenberg and the government of Germany did. Gay people are fully protected now in Germany, the way other objects of persecution are protected in Germany.

      Maybe, if we actually had a real national conversation about race, rather than the dog whistles given by our so-called president to the right wing so they will vote for him again, we could finally put this to bed. But as long as people are making excuses for the racism of the past, by pretending that the racism of the present does not exist, or is not so important, then the issue is not going to go away.

      George Soros never sent me a check to pay for my support of the people that want to see official racism ended. I’m just doing it for free, because it’s the right thing to do* What’s your excuse?

      * That doesn’t mean, by the way, that I support property damage, vandalism, rioting, looting, or hanging around in large crowds without appropriate social distancing and masks.**. I most assuredly do not.

      ** This excludes officially sanctioned events of the Republican Party, Which has become so right wing that they can’t make up their mind whether the whole plague is a hoax, a plot by the Democrats, a plot by George Soros and Bill Gates, a plot by the Chinese that involves killing who knows how many of their own citizens Test out this Weaponized cold virus when they just kind of tested it out on our population, not to mention, citizens of their Allied countries.***

      *** If that’s the right wing fantasy world for you

      1. The election of 2008 mattered because Americans rejoiced that we had turned a page and could put this unforgivable taint of racism behind us. I remember well the optimism. They likely didn’t imagine that it only would be after his election that the notion of America as nothing other than a 400 year old racist and genocidal slave state, where white privilege and systemic racism and Black Lives Matter are the only acceptable way to define America, would dominate our national discourse. Some thought that electing a black president (which was not, by the way, something nobody talked about) somehow put a big star on America’s own journey in trying to right its past wrongs.

        As for the conversation, it depends on what is the end goal of the conversation. Most I know would love to look at the issue, just the whole thing. Not only the parts that are convenient for keeping the debate on one side of the fence. Nonetheless, if it looks like no matter what is done, the goalposts will forever be moved down field, it makes you wonder why have the conversation in the first place.

      2. Sorry Mark, just remembering all those good white liberals who said in 2008 how it was so important that we elect our first black president.

      3. You get that libs can say that taking a step forward is good without affirming the lie that one step is the end of the journey, right? Of course you do. But you consistently choose to be dishonest. It’s what you do.

      4. After the Civil War, numerous African Americans were elected to the U.S. Congress. That was progress. But, as of 1901, they were all gone. There wouldn’t be another African American legislator until 1928; there wouldn’t be another from a southern state until much later. You can see what many white people during the intervening years thought about black legislators here.

        During Reconstruction, people could have pointed to the election of black legislators and said that at last America had put all that ugliness behind itself forever. It wouldn’t have been true, though.

        Two steps forward, one step back. We have to keep fighting.

  3. True that Fourth of July is a white holiday since the founding fathers did only see Americans as a white people. Its the same way that the African American nation with its own national anthem and traditions is only black. Or the way the various American Indian nations only have genetic Indians as members. The latter is by definition extremely racist, but the sin of racism is something only white people are guilty of, unlike traditional sins, which apply to all men.

    1. You obviously don’t have the slightest clue about what racism actually is.

      Hint: it isn’t the actual existence of races, which is really only a social construct, not a scientific one.

  4. Speaking of Frederick Douglass, he once said, “Everybody has asked the question … ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!”
    And let’s not forget Booker T. Washington: “”There is another class of [Black] people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the [Black] race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the [Black man] to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

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