I was fifteen when The United States of America celebrated its bicentennial with countrywide celebrations, memorials at town squares, tall ships in New York Harbor, a long, vast birthday celebration. It was a day of great optimism and hope, coming just a year after the end of a long and bitter war. Reports of the raid on Entebbe were coming in, although for many it was not something that needed to kill a good independence buzz.
There would be a few years reprieve until the Iranian hostage crisis and the impotent response of our president would kick off what has turned out to be a 25 year battle with Islamic fanaticism. We are less happy, less optimistic, less sure of our own place in the world and less secure in our minds and our land. We are a bickering nation, where the president, the press, various pundits and protesters are denoted as greater threats to our liberty than those whom would openly and wantonly line up to kill as many of us as possible.
This is madness. We must always be open to disagreement, but when we break our public discourse down to calls of treason or war crimes, we enable our collective enemies and make their battle that much easier.
America elicits many emotions and thoughts from all spectrums. I thought that I would gather a few quotes, some positive, some negative, some humorous for us to read and perhaps ponder.
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone
directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of
America is great because it is good. If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great again. (*Apochryphal. See Dave Schuler's comment).
-Alexis de Tocqueville
America is a young country with an old mentality.
America does to me what I knew it would do: it just bumps me...
America is a great country. It has many shortcomings, many social
inequalities, and it’s tragic that the problem of the blacks wasn’t
solved fifty or even a hundred years ago, but it’s still a great
country, a country full of opportunities, of freedom! Does it seem
nothing to you to be able to say what you like, even against the
government, the Establishment?
America owes most of its social prejudices to the exaggerated religious
opinions of the different sects which were so instrumental in
establishing the colonies.
-James Fenimore Cooper
America is rather like life. You can usually find in it what you look
for... It will probably be interesting, and it is sure to be large.
America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional,
that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an élite
which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust
I like to be in America!
OK by me in America!
Ev’rything free in America
For a small fee in America!
America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.
The American people, taken with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goosesteppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning,
or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
America is addicted to wars of distraction.
Yes, America is gigantic, but a gigantic mistake.
America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.
-Warren G. Harding
I see America spreading disaster. I see America as a black curse upon
the world. I see a long night settling in and that mushroom which has
poisoned the world withering at the roots.
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.
-Arnold J. Toynbee
In America any boy may become President, and I suppose it’s just one of the risks he takes!
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience... In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine.
-Katherine Lee Bates
Happy Independence Day, everyone.