United States restless this July 4, but many see something to rejoice in


Independence Day comes at a time when the United States is reeling from hearings on the January 6 insurrection, overwhelmed by High Court rulings on abortion and firearms and struggling to maintain the common ties that unite them.

Yet many also see cause for celebration: the pandemic continues to wane and, despite its flaws, American democracy survives.

“I think a lot of us feel conflicted about celebrating the 4th of July right now,” hurdle race champion and lawyer Amelia Boone tweeted as the week turned into the long weekend. -end of vacation.

In her eyes, patriotism is also about fighting for change, she said, adding, “I’m not giving up on the United States.”

That sentiment is no doubt shared by millions of people who will mark the nation’s 246th birthday and the anniversary of independence from English rule on Monday.

It’s a day to leave work, flock to parades, devour hot dogs and burgers at backyard barbecues and gather under a canopy of stars and explode fireworks – in many cases for the first time in three years as part of the easing of coronavirus precautions.

Baltimore, for its part, is resuming its Independence Day celebrations after a two-year hiatus, much to the delight of residents like Steven Williams.

“I used to be up there every year. Then it stopped,” Williams told WBAL-TV. “I haven’t seen them for a few years.”

Colorful screens large and small will light up the night skies of cities from New York to Seattle, Chicago to Dallas. However, others, especially in the drought-stricken and wildfire-prone parts of the west, will give it up.

Phoenix is ​​also going without fireworks again – not because of the pandemic or the fires, but because of supply chain issues.

In moving ceremonies across the country, some new residents will take the oath of citizenship, qualifying them to vote for the first time in the upcoming midterm elections.

Admittedly, these are precarious times: an economic recession looms, and the national psyche is still raw from mass shootings like those seen recently at an elementary school in Texas and a supermarket in New York.

Strong social and political divisions have also been laid bare by recent Supreme Court rulings striking down the constitutional right to abortion and striking down a New York law restricting the carrying of weapons in public.

But for many, July 4 is also a time to put aside political differences and celebrate unity, reflecting on the revolution that gave birth to the longest-running democracy in history.

Eli Merritt, a political historian at Vanderbilt University whose forthcoming book traces the difficult founding of the United States in 1776, said that “there is always something that divides us or unites us.”

But he sees the January 6 hearings on the storming of the US Capitol last year as cause for hope, an opportunity to rally behind democratic institutions. Even if not all Americans or their elected representatives agree with the committee’s work, Merritt is encouraged that it is at least somewhat bipartisan with the participation of some Republicans.

“Moral courage as the place for Americans to place hope,” he said, “the willingness to stand up for what is right and true despite negative consequences to oneself. It is an essential cement of constitutional democracy.

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