Barbecue, beer, backyard fireworks, trips to the ER: America loves its Independence Day traditions.
I have my own tradition, of recent vintage. Each year I cue up my favorite conservative podcasts knowing that they’ll reliably deliver “greatest country in the world” sermons for the occasion. Then I reproach myself for not sharing their exuberance.
It’s embarrassing, and not just because I spend most of my time on this newsletter carping about nationalists. Nationalists are fickle about patriotism; conservatives aren’t supposed to be.
What’s embarrassing is that our very comfortable era is much more plausibly the best time it has ever been to be an American than the worst. Under the circumstances, pessimism can’t help but sound silly and myopic. Imagine complaining to an African American who grew up in the 1940s or ‘50s (or ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s …) that this country ain’t what it used to be.