Fourth of July Unites a Divided Nation

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 02:02 PM

By Susan Estrich

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Every four years, at some point in the presidential campaign, one candidate says something that leads the other to accuse him (or her) of challenging his (or her) patriotism, and then we have a 48-hour spat over who called who unpatriotic, and then we go back to the usual political game in which talking heads viciously attack each other 24/7.
 
Does Barack Obama love America? Of course he does. Does he hate white people? No. Did George W. Bush hate America? Of course he didn't. Both men have made mistakes. Who in that job has not?
 
On the Fourth of July, we put on our flag pins or fly flags on our front lawns and celebrate the miracle of democracy.
 
Is Congress made up of a bunch of greedy fools? No. It is, in my experience, made up of men and women more talented than most, who end up playing a game that most of them did not dream of playing when they were growing up and dreaming of going to Washington, D.C.
 
Does the Supreme Court (whose popularity rating has reached an all-time low) comprise a bunch of political hacks who just cast their votes based on who put them there? Actually, no. They have very different views and ideologies, but these men and women work unbelievably hard to do what they believe is right, and while I fundamentally disagree with them some of the time, no serious student of the Supreme Court would ever agree with the more foolish criticisms hurled at the justices by folks who often know nothing about how the court works.
 
We take it for granted that our institutions are stable, or we would never dare abuse them as we do. If our right to vote were in jeopardy, we would vote. If the government really were corrupt, in the way the screamers suggest, we would come together and throw the bums out.
 
We mostly re-elect our members of Congress every two years (and I will regret greatly not being able to vote once again for my congressman Henry Waxman, who has been an amazing public servant) because most of them, when they aren't stuck endlessly raising money or fighting off challenges, try to do what they think is best for their constituents and this country, however much you or I might disagree with their judgment on that.
 
That old saying about democracy being a terribly flawed system except that every other system is so much worse is true, and it is also true that we are the luckiest people in the world to be able to take as much for granted as we do.
 
But taking things for granted can go too far, and one day a year is not enough to right what has become an increasingly ugly tone to the political discourse in this country. The fact that we have the freedom to attack our leaders and institutions without risk of being arrested or censored does not mean anything should go in political discourse. The fact that the Internet allows people to say things anonymously that they would never dare say otherwise does not mean their words are not dangerous or destructive.
 
We are a great country facing difficult challenges, and we don't all agree on the way to deal with them. But we agree on far more than we disagree on, and we share a fundamental love of country that should, at the end of the day, and does, when things get bad enough, transcend our differences.
 
It is too bad it takes a disaster, or the Fourth of July, for us to call on that strength.
 
Susan Estrich is a best-selling author whose writings have appeared in newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. Read more reports from Susan Estrich — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

© Creators Syndicate Inc.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Rest in Peace, Mom

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 09:28 AM

Today would be my mother's 88th birthday, which is not so old, but my mother seemed very old eight years ago, when she d . . .

'Willie-Horton' Attack Ads Are Shameful Ploys

Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 09:28 AM

The spectacular failure of incumbent Alaska Sen. Mark Begich to use a "Willie Horton-style ad" (it's being called that)  . . .

Obama Stares Down ISIS

Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 08:51 AM

The president should not be reckless, but neither should he be timid. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved