A Bastille Day update: Today in America we postulate a living, evolving, and therefore potentially inclusive constitution. We place our faith in its imperatives, expecting them to supersede the dictates of the past: of race and religion and political belief and individual need. If our faith is so strong, why should we fear the immigrant?
(The sale on the Kindle of Worthy of This Great City has ended, as advised, and it’s back to $7.99. Hardly a fortune; how about a little support for the arts!)
July 7, 2019: So Mr. Franklin reportedly replied, when asked what form of government this little invention of a nation would take, and he had reason to wonder. We were so scattered, so lacking any kind of cohesion or clear purpose beyond just getting rid of the Brits.
I spent the 4th wandering my city, taking bad photos with my phone, wondering what all the revelers were celebrating. Certainly not the same thing. It reminded me of the Bicentennial, another scattered, regional or local event. Each to his own, baby. For liberty, for a day off from work, for a concert or food on the Ben Franklin Parkway, for splashing in a fountain or in the jets at Dilworth Plaza, or waiting in line to tour Independence Hall. For fireworks, of course.
A republic, and not to push the old “as opposed to a democracy” argument, but here we are decrying the electoral vote because it did exactly what it was supposed to do; it provided some measure of solidarity by forcing us to actually look at each other, if not willingly or with respect. Is it better to look away sometimes, and simply forge ahead? Is that necessary? Perhaps it is, but these things must be carefully weighed.
Then think about upholding ideas carefully crafted out of compromise and intelligence and forethought down in Philadelphia’s historic district, and whether those familiar, hallowed concepts could possibly endanger their own existence. Because that’s what I hear.
And this is no time for a crisis of faith.
(The sale on the Kindle of Worthy of This Great City continues one more week only ($2.99).