Fourth of July

I am fond of vintage American history textbooks. Rifling through dumpsters, library discards, and second-hand bookstores, I cannot resist bringing them home when I find them. I am drawn to the temper of older histories, particularly ones written for students. Prior to the revisionist animus of the Sixties, school texts shared a sympathy for the American experiment, the fragility and genius of it. Sins were acknowledged but without the rancor that scours the past for new sources of accusation, new means of destruction. Continue Reading
Independence Day

LOST IN THE CHEERY GREETING, “Happy 4th of July,” is the solemnity of Independence Day and the magnificence of our Declaration of Independence. // That came home to me yesterday at the grocery check-out. The young man at the register handed me my change with a mechanical, “Have a good one.” (There is a phrase to set the teeth on edge.) I responded with, “Happy Independence Day.” He looked startled for a second before muttering, “Oh . . . yeah.” So, please, for his sake and that of all his brethren, let us mark the day. Continue Reading