Thursday, July 04, 2013

Independence and the Mother Country

A few months ago I watched a documentary about the Revolutionary War and reached a disconcerting conclusion: had I lived back then--assuming I had pretty much the same values and beliefs I do now, or at least their closest 18th-century equivalent--I probably would've been a Loyalist rather than a Revolutionary, not because of any fondness for entrenched authority but because of the slavery issue: the British offered freedom to any slave who fought for them, while the Americans turned slaveholders into generals and, after early skirmishes involving the like of Crispus Attucks, wouldn't let black soldiers fight at all.

But I guess it all worked out in the end, some 225 years later. And today is Independence Day, when we Americans are supposed to celebrate sundry ideals like "freedom." I chose instead to spend the day writing for two different British publications about various problems in my own country. At the Guardian, I deplore how the TSA and NSA make unconstitutional searches the new status quo, and at Anorak I spend a few paragraphs facepalming over the Washington Post's angry old man Robert Samuelson, who thinks the real problem facing modern America is ... this newfangled Internet contraption.

Happy Fourth of July. I'd love to come and visit you but that would require me to fly, which I still can't do thanks to TSA playing grab-hands and insisting it's for my own good.


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