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A Realist’s Fourth of July

July 4, 2010

Pessimism and fears of decline are probably standard fare for this blog. But on a day like this it’s hard to not feel patriotic, however jingoistic it comes off. In 234 years of independence, the US has only had two constitutional regimes, and the changeover between them occurred peacefully and voluntarily. Despite the hyperactive partisan rhetoric of the last decade, that Constitution is basically intact, and the US has reliably had elections when the constitution dictated it; peaceful transfer of power has been the norm. Even during the Civil War, which only lasted four years, the government won, and the losing side rightly opted against an insurgency that could have dragged it further. During these years of independence, the US has maintained its territorial integrity. I am extremely fortunate to live in this country, for these reasons and many more.

Of course, Independence Day should merit as much reflection on the responsibilities of maintaining and preserving our principles and our country, but even the gloomiest realists in this country should be able to find something to celebrate today.

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