Of all Independence Days, this one is something else, isn't it? I personally find it hard to celebrate this year, for oh so many reasons. About the most positive feeling I can muster this year is a grim resolve, the vow that no, this ain't over, not by a damn longshot. I'm not giving up on my country forever, but it's hard right now to see it ever becoming the land to which it aspires (and, for a certain population, believes it always was until something went awry, hint hint wink wink nudge nudge as to what that might be).
Anyway. Happy birthday, America.
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
--The American President, written by Aaron Sorkin