Well Happy Independence Day weekend, everyone. Except that I'm in an ambivalent frame of mind. What are we really celebrating?
The mythology has it that we threw of the tyrannical yoke of the British Empire - represented by its German monarch George III - and all it's pomps and works, gained our "liberty", marched across a continent, fought a civil war to free the slaves, put a quite end to the Kaiser and his dreams of world conquest in short order, and again made the world safe for democracy by single-handedly teaching that upstart Hitler a thing or too. Being too tired to teach Stalin a thing or two too, we decided on a policy of containment, and built bases all of the world, fought another war in Veitnam to make the world safe for democracy, contain Communism - well that didn't work to well - and make the world safe for the drug trade. Another war in Iraq a little later to contain yet another run-away dictator, and then another, to get more bases...
Well, I'm sensing a pattern here.
The truth is that America broke from Britain over - you guessed it - the difference philosophically over who gets to control the issuance of money, and how it is issued: the private money monopoly of the Bank of England, or the state (in this case, the colonies as representatives of the crown), themselves. After the Revolution, we essentially collapsed into the same old game with the banksters until Andy Jackson came along and temporarily gave them quite a lot to think about. Well, Jackson, like all American presidents, was a mixed bag. One can hardly approve of his treatment of Native Americans, but that's what empire building does: it creates oligarchies, plutocrats, and suffering.
We are the empire on whose flag the sun never sets now, and an increasingly unpopular one, and at the heart of it is the same old bankster scam. We have cameras spying on us at every stoplight, satellites peering down on every square foot of the globe. Like all empires, the end will inevitably come, as regions increasingly take issue with the "central authority," which increasingly is deaf to the public good. Like Rome before us, we are looking at the debasement of our currency, the loss of our culture, a flood of "barbarians" across increasingly porous borders that the empire is either powerless to protect or too lazy to do so, while it is off using bunker-busting bombs in the caves of Afghanistan.
Contemplate this, but also contemplate that the ideals on which the country was found were, in a sense, never really tried at all. That, at least, should give some comfort this Independence Day.