A former Senator, a current Congresswoman, a publicly funded media outlet, and an out of control activist all take aim at Independence Day and our Founding documents. Instead of celebrating America, they insist on bashing it. Can’t we just have a single day where America is great before we get back into our partisan corners?
Let me start by saying that I have plenty of liberal friends that celebrate the Fourth of July properly, some of them decked out in full USA flag regalia. I’m sure most normal liberals and Democrats do the same. This post is not targeted at them, but at the same time the public liberal politician, activist, or media personality is a different creature entirely. For them, a celebration devoted to the Founding of America is far too tempting a target to let pass by with a simple Happy Independence Day. Instead, it’s an opportunity for everything from the bizarre to the offensive, competing for the crown of most ridiculous and anti-American statement.
Let’s start with the bizarre. You might think a former United States Senator would have a jammed packed Fourth of July schedule, perhaps joining in a local fireworks display, celebrating with constituents, donating time to help those less fortunate, or just taking a break to relax with their family and friends to watch the fireworks like the rest of us. If that former Senator is Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, however, you would be wrong. Instead, she plans to watch video of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol building with her family, and she intends this watching to be an annual tradition moving forward. She told MSNBC last week “We’re going to start a new family tradition in my family. On the Fourth of July and every Fourth of July going forward, we’re going to watch that video that the New York Times put together of January 6th.”
The statement was so outlandish that it was greeted with dead silence for several seconds by Joe Scarborough. Even conservative-leaning Never Trump political pundits, usually eager to voice their criticism of the events on January 6, had no kind words for Ms. McCaskill’s new family tradition. Meghan McCain tweeted, “This is so stupid. Like so stupid.” Jonah Goldberg likewise tweeted, “My Jaw dropped when I saw this this morning. It was so weird.” Also weird: An equally bizarre comparison between the attack on Benghazi on September 11, 2012 and January 6. When asked about investigations into January 6, she replied “Joe, I have one word: Benghazi.”
Current members of Congress also managed to outdo themselves with stupid statements. Representative Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri, tweeted “When they say that the 4th of July is about American freedom, remember this: the freedom they are referring to is for white people. This land is stolen land and Black people still aren’t free.” Apparently, Representative Cori Bush never heard of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, or the Civil Rights Act. She must’ve also missed President Joe Biden declaring Juneteeth a national holiday to celebrate the freedom of the slaves. In her upside-down world, she is the world’s only enslaved member of Congress. A black woman who grew up poor herself to come a nurse and political activist, now representing her constituents in the House of Representatives doesn’t believe she or her fellow people of color are free.
What does one even say to that?
Publicly funded media organization, National Public Radio also took issue with the founding, specifically the language in the Declaration of Independence and its lack of universal applicability. In their July 4 tweet celebrating the signing of the Declaration, they prefaced the timeless document with the following statement: 245 years ago today, leaders representing 13 British colonies signed a document to declare independence. It says “that all men are created equal” — but women, enslaved people, Indigenous people and many others were not held as equal at the time.
Who, precisely, does NPR believe is unaware of this fact? In an era dominated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, do they truly believe that Americans are unaware that our freedom and rights were not universal at the time of the Founding? Of course not. They know everyone knows it, but rather than simply celebrate America by promoting our founding documents, they chose that forum to criticize, which should certainly tell you about the mindset our tax dollars are supporting. Alas, the mindset is also historically illiterate: In 1776, no one was free anywhere on this Earth. There had never been a government in history of the known universe predicated on freedom and natural rights, but don’t tell NPR that; it might ruin their chance to be woke.
In a similar yet far more offensive vein, the civil rights activist, Toure, writing for The Grio declared, “F**ck Fourth of July: The only independence day I recognize is Juneteenth,” as in “F**k the Fourth of July. In a world where we officially recognize Juneteenth, that great new holiday sits on the calendar casting a long shadow over Independence Day, making it look like a hypocrite and a damn fool.” Toure continues, even cribbing from the historically inaccurate and illiterate 1619 Project, “Independence for who? It wasn’t independence for Black people, for our ancestors, so why would we celebrate the Fourth of July? And it isn’t merely that Americans owned slaves at the time when America became independent, it’s that slavery was completely wrapped up in the movement to become independent.”
Apparently, Toure didn’t hear the news that this assertion from the infamous project has been completely debunked. He continues to quote the 1619 Project’s creator, Nikole Hannah Jones, who claimed, “We may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. It is not incidental that 10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers, and some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.”
In response, Princeton professor Sean Wilentz published a letter signed by several other reputable historians disputing the accuracy of this claim by referring to, you know, actual facts rather than innuendo. Ms. Jones is surely aware that slavery wasn’t banned in Britain for almost 60 years after the Declaration of Independence, not until 1833. Great Britain was in fact dependent on US slavery, using the raw cotton for their mills, even providing aid and comfort to the Confederate states during the Civil War to continue the practice. “I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves,” Mr. Wilentz wrote in another letter to the Times’ editor-in-chief. “No colonist expressed alarm that the mother country was out to abolish slavery in 1776,” he continued. Mr. Wilenz also explained to The Atlantic, “To teach children that the American Revolution was fought in part to secure slavery would be giving a fundamental misunderstanding not only of what the American Revolution was all about but what America stood for and has stood for since the Founding.”
Pointing out the obvious, he added that anti-slavery ideology was a “very new thing in the world in the 18th century” and “there was more anti-slavery activity in the colonies than in Britain.” Another historian who signed the letter, James McPherson, also from Princeton, told the New York Post that he was “disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery.” The City Unversity of New York’s James Oakes added that the idea “slavery or racism is built into the DNA of America” is just one of many “really dangerous tropes,” continuing to warn “They’re not only ahistorical, they’re actually anti-historical. The function of those tropes is to deny change over time.”
Of course, this is precisely what Toure proceeds to do, somehow tying the hypocrisy of the Founders to the current state of racial discussions in the United States. “This reminds me of today, a time when white supremacy shapes American life so deeply that white people are fighting against the teaching of Critical Race Theory because nowadays, as it was back in the early days of America, this country is both engaged in racism and in working hard to pretend it’s not.”
To support the idea that the entire country, or at least the white part of it, from the founding onward has been working hard simply to be hypocritical, he cites a British contemporary of Thomas Jefferson’s, who was openly critical of the Southern Slaveholders. Toure notes that, “In 1776, abolitionist Thomas Day wrote in a letter, ‘If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.’”
Thomas Day, however, might not be the right person to ask. He was a rich kid from the equally slave-owning United Kingdom who, for one of his pet projects, tried to train a perfect wife, after determining that there “was no finding such a creature ready made.” According to Anna Seward, “he resolved, if possible, that his wife should have a taste for literature and science, for moral and patriotic philosophy. So might she be his companion in that retirement, to which he had destined himself; and assist him forming the minds of his children to stubborn virtue and high exertion. He resolved also, that she should be simple as a mountain girl, in her dress, her diet and her manners, fearless and intrepid as the Spartan wives and Roman heroines.” When Mr. Day couldn’t find an adult woman that fit the bill, he adopted two young orphans for the purpose, one of which he trained with hot wax on her arms.
Perhaps, Toure should choose his sources more carefully before running afoul of the woke women’s contingent, or perhaps he should simply accept that people can be raging hypocrites. Mr. Day was away ahead of the curve on racial issues; way behind on women’s rights. This should not be surprising. What is surprising: As further proof of his position to “f**ck the Fourth of July,” Toure notes that Thomas Jefferson had originally included anti-slavery language in the Declaration of Independence, only to have it removed during the drafting process. Toure states that “Congress ended up rejecting that section and created a Constitution that protected slavery without mentioning it,” meaning the Founders were aware they were being intellectually inconsistent and, on more than one occasion, at least attempted to address it. In fact, they “protected” slavery by banning the importation of new slaves on January 1, 1808, the date agreed to in the Constitution after several Founders voiced their disgust with the practice. In any normal era, this might be taken as evidence the Founders were both aware slavery was an abhorrent institution and that they were taking however unsatisfactory or limited steps to end or at least curtail it. Today, it’s taken as a reason to curse the Founding of the country.
Likewise, Toure then quotes civil rights legend, Frederick Douglas. Mr. Douglas was born a slave, became free, and then started studying America. At first, he was skeptical, writing this emotional take on the Fourth of July from the perspective of a black American. “A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”
What Toure fails to mention, however, is that Frederick Douglas had a change of heart and ultimately discovered the greatness of America in the Founding documents themselves. Rather than disparaging the Founding, he called the Declaration of Independence “the ring-bolt to the chain” of the nation’s destiny and the Constitution a “glorious liberty document.” Defending the Constitution itself in Glasgow Scotland in 1860, Mr. Douglas said “What will the people of America a hundred years hence care about the intentions of the scriveners who wrote the Constitution? These men are already gone from us, and in the course of nature were expected to go from us. They were for a generation, but the Constitution is for ages.”
We should all hope that Toure and his Critical Race Theory touting-brethren are merely for a generation and contribute none of their anti-American screeds to the ages. The irony is rich: While complaining that American freedoms weren’t universal at the Founding, they are espousing an ideology that denies the very existence of those freedoms and everything else the country was founded on in the first place.
Don’t believe me? The “Founders” of CRT say so themselves. According to Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, a book written by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic in 2001, “Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism and neutral principles of constitutional law.” But, sure, let’s take on the Founders of America for enshrining those very principles in the structure of the government itself. That makes about as much sense as tweeting, saying, and writing stupid stuff instead of properly celebrating the Fourth of July.