How to Celebrate the 4th of July with the State of American Politics | Opinion
This three-day weekend, we celebrate the founding of our republic 246 years ago. On July 2, 1776the Continental Congress proclaimed independence and two days later passed our beloved Declaration of Independence.
Since then, our nation has suffered greatly and now faces serious challenges. Your columnists, not quite since founding (but close), report on the health of the good old United States in the tumultuous political year of 2022.
A very recent CBS News poll revealed 72% of Americans believe that “our democracy is under threat”. This is a surprising result as a majority of all demographic groups share this concern. Is the country, and our constitutional principles, in danger? Should we celebrate or mourn this Independence Day?
Pignanelli: “Democracy…is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and providing a kind of equality to equals and unequals. — Plato
I hereby exercise my constitutional right to be condescending and self-righteous. Citizens who fear that our republic is in danger should spend less time absorbing the nonsense of cable television pessimists left or right. Instead, they should spend time reading a book, or at least a Wikipedia entry, about the the history of this country. This activity will provide the necessary perspective.
We live in a time of extreme partisanship and social division. There’s a lot of resentment in street protests and social media. But it is a condition that plagues every generation. Americans have a heritage of disagreement and discord, while maintaining a functioning government and a sustainable economy. Shouting and screaming are vital signs of a healthy democracy. Calm is the domain of authoritarian regimes.
The January 6 committee hearings, like the Watergate investigations, detail horrific internal attacks that were thwarted from within. The heroes of the two polemics belonged to the same party of the presidents under surveillance.
Our republican and constitutional principles have never been stronger. Innovation and entrepreneurship continue to grow. Witnessing a heinous protest or hearing a ridiculous plot comforts those who understand America’s heritage and mission. Read a good history book if you have any doubts.
Webb: There is a lot of hand twisting and conspiracies on both the far right and the far left. But the left is almost apoplectic in the face of the emergence of a Very conservative US Supreme Court and the very likely prospect of being ousted from power in November.
Our country will survive and prosper because of the sensible ruling middle that will swing the political pendulum back to the center if it swings too far left or right.
The greatest danger facing our country is the political overrun of the victorious partisans. The Democrats, who come from barely won the presidency and Congress in 2020, greedily interpreted their narrow victory as a crushing mandate to realize all arch-liberal dreams. They did not succeed on all points, thanks to the Senate Filibuster Rulebut their agenda has alienated mainstream Americans and they will pay the price in November.
It will then be the turn of the Republicans to govern, even if they will be constrained for two years by a Democratic president. This could very well be their saving grace. Otherwise, they could mirror the Democrats’ playbook with an arch-conservative agenda that angers Central America.
As a traditional conservative, I welcome a Supreme Court with a more original approach to constitutional issues. I’m happy with the idea of Republicans in control of Congress. I’m glad the pendulum is back. It gives me hope for a flourishing America.
However, if Republicans go too far — and the temptation will be great to do so, especially on issues like abortion and immigration — victory will be short-lived.
Why should Utahns, in particular, observe this July 4th anniversary with joy and pride?
Pignanelli: The state’s dominant political party has recently engaged in conventions and primary contests for office large and small. Accusations that a small group of individuals control politics are a fantasy. The local media do not hesitate to probe, and sometimes unfairly attack, the powers that be. The minority party performs the same function and is successful in some parts of the state.
Our state and local governments regularly receive awards for transparent deliberations and fair elections. Democracy, with fried sauce and Diet Coke, is flourishing in Utah.
Webb: The Founders established a nation of states in which corporate bodies with good governance can thrive. Utah’s mainstream conservative approach to government, with excellent state and local leadership and good citizens, has served the state remarkably well. It is definitely worth celebrating.
Is there a particular emotion readers should embrace this weekend?
Pignanelli: Every healthy Utahn living in the 21st century should be grateful for a resoundingly strong government, society, economy and support network. Disagreements over politics are necessary, and gratitude for the ability to do so is imperative.
Webb: We should have a humble and quiet pride in America. Despite all her faults, she remains a shining beacon, the hope of the world. We should be proud that our fellow Americans, for the most part, are honest, sensible citizens who will not long tolerate extremism on either side.
Republican LaVarr Webb is a former journalist and semi-retired small-scale farmer and political consultant. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist, and political adviser who served as a Democrat in the Utah State Legislature. E-mail: email@example.com.