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Nothing to Celebrate Here

July 4, 2020

mt rushmore

I’m not feeling celebratory on this 4th of July. What I mostly feel is angry.

Angry that the US has the worst Covid-19 pandemic in the world , and our government’s only response as it metastasizes out of control is “Get used to it”.

Angry that we have a president whose only response to racialized police brutality is to attack the protesters both rhetorically and physically.

Angry that we have a president whose response to racial inequality is to ramp up the coded white supremist language and call those demanding change “bad, evil people.”

Angry that we have a president who falsely accuses his opponents of trying to impose “a new far-left fascism” and waging “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

Angry that we have a Republican party that supports him absolutely and whose members will only criticize him after they leave office.

Angry that we have a president and Republican party whose election strategy is based solely  on culture war disinformation and voter suppression.

Angry that we have a majority on the Supreme Court that consistently supports anti-democratic voter suppression measures and financial corruption in our politics.

Angry that we have an Attorney General who is eviscerating the Department of Justice and FBI of apolitical professional civil servants and installing partisan hacks in their place.

Angry that we have a president who attacks our longtime allies and cozies up dictators around the world, destroying American prestige and credibility in international affairs.

Angry that we have an administration that denies the reality of climate change and is doing everything possible to make it worse.

Angry that Trump and the Republicans have twisted the tax and regulatory power of the federal government to further enrich the wealthy while doing nothing for the poor and ordinary wage earners.

Angry that the integrity and credibility of the federal government is being destroyed by a president who appoints people who will subvert the missions of the agencies they lead.

Angry that our military is being politicized by a president who uses them as props in his campaign events and as agents of suppression of legitimate popular protests.

Angry that half of the white people in this country think all of this is just fine.

As columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald writes:

One had only to spend a little quality time among [Trump] supporters via an online video from The New York Times, “Unfiltered: Voices From Trump’s Crowds.” Somewhere between the guy shouting “F— those dirty beaners” and the one sporting the “F— Islam” T-shirt, between the “F— that nigger” response to a mention of President Obama and the “Sieg heil” salute, it becomes impossible to ever again take seriously anyone who argues that Trump was elected because of “economic anxiety.”

And if you accept that he came to office because a critical mass of white voters felt anger, fear or vulnerability over the fact that they will soon lose the ability to muster a racial majority, then it follows that every disastrous thing stemming from his election also traces ultimately to that same cause .So we left the Paris climate accords because of race. We abrogated the Iran nuclear deal because of race. We suffered the worst economic collapse in 90 years because of race. We became an international laughingstock and object of pity because of race. We’ve lost more than 120,000 of our fellow citizens to a deadly pandemic in large part because of race. Now we might lose our country because of race. What a high price we have paid, what damage we have done ourselves. Because of race.

Most of all, I’m angry because much of this damage may well be permanent no matter who wins the election in November. As Pitts warns: “The damage is too deep — again, not just to our concrete national interests, but also to the way we see our country, to the expectations we hold for our leaders. And for ourselves.”

So save the fireworks and parades today. Today is more properly a day of mourning and self-reflection, not celebration.


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