Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Mourn on the 4th of July

Over the holiday weekend I was thinking about the state of the nation, seeing as how it was the nation’s birthday and all—its 246th to be exact. I couldn’t think of anything to celebrate, considering how fragile our entire system seems right now. Add to the holiday mix another mass shooting, and you realize fireworks are more than metaphorical in this age.

We can’t really celebrate the Constitution, which is exposing its flaws almost daily. In fact, the Supreme Court signaled last week that it’s going to consider a case next term that could wind up permitting state legislatures to ignore the results of federal elections and send electors to Congress in favor of whoever they want. This is because the Constitution says, “The Times, Places and Manner of hold­ing Elec­tions for Senat­ors and Repres­ent­at­ives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legis­lature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regu­la­tions.” Along with, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legis­lature thereof may direct, a Number of Elect­ors.”

These clauses allow our antidemocratic Republicans to undermine elections and, potentially, arrange things so that a Democrat will never win the presidency again. If a number of swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Georgia adopt the independent legislature doctrine, our democracy is toast.

Meanwhile, a hundred members of the Patriot Front marched in Boston in their stylish khakis and blue polo shirts, all with balaclavas hiding their faces. They hate gays, transgender people, people of color, immigrants, libtards, and more or less anyone who isn’t white and Christian. They, and groups like them, are in ascendancy now. They’ll be presenting a real problem for the preservation of a civil society.

Rights are being taken away from us rather than bestowed upon us. More to come, possibly including the right to contraception, the right to love whoever you wish, and the right to freedom from religion. Florida is making sure children will be exposed to Christianity in public schools. (Screw you, Muslim kids, Jewish kids, atheist kids.) Other red states are making sure ten-year-old rape victims will give birth to their rapists’ babies. Still others are making sure you’ll see armed people everywhere you go, but they will have received no training and will carry no state-issued license.

I don’t believe the founders ever imagined a society like ours, nor do I believe they could have imagined it. I suspect they’d observe the rapid deterioration of norms and the shocking radicalization of the Supreme Court and determine that it’s time to rewrite that old vellum instruction manual and tie up some of these loose ends that partisan politics have exposed. I’ve always been afraid of a second constitutional convention, but it might be the only way to prevent the right from dragging all of us back to the antebellum status quo.

But let’s face it. Most people weren’t celebrating independence from England this weekend. They were getting drunk and sunburned and overcooking hamburgers on gas grills. They were watching their flights get canceled and their fill-ups costing them a hundred bucks, and they were blaming it all on Joe Biden and the Democrats.

They were also shooting off illegal fireworks in bone-dry regions of the West, where reservoirs are exposing sunken vessels and dead bodies from decades ago.

Some country we have here. Looking every bit its age and in need of a total gut job.

Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash.


15 comments on “Mourn on the 4th of July

  1. justdrivewillyou
    July 5, 2022

    I don’t really “like” this post, of course, but I certainly do agree with it. I guess there should be an “agree” option at the end of a post. We are in sorry shape, indeed.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 5, 2022

      I know what you mean about the “like” thing. We can’t like what shouldn’t be. Maybe “Endorse” …

  2. Gary Trujillo
    July 5, 2022

    I don’t know, man, maybe some dudes from the 1700s who owned people and would be mystified by the sight of a dishwasher weren’t right about everything in perpetuity

  3. kingmidget
    July 5, 2022

    I started writing a 4th of July post and haven’t finished it yet. I may never finish it, but a lot of what you say here is similar to what I have thought about including in that post. The one big difference is this … I don’t know when the last time was that I “celebrated” this country. All sorts of people are coming to the realization today that we are monumentally screwed up. I’ve felt that way most of my adult life.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 5, 2022

      Same here. I’ve appreciated things like the First amendment, the right to vote, “innocent till proven guilty,” and that kind of stuff, but through all the decades I’ve always thought, We can do better, can’t we?

      And now that the right has co-opted all the symbols of patriotism, the imagery makes me sick. The flag is now a symbol of white nationalism.

      • kingmidget
        July 5, 2022

        Yep. Part of it is that I’m just not a rah rah type of person. Part of it is what you mention about the right co-opting patriotism. I really struggled with standing for the national anthem ever since Trump turned it into a gung ho, to-military spectacle.

        I’ll stick with my quiet version of patriotism.

  4. Cinthia
    July 5, 2022

    I’d love to comment but I’m just too f*cking angry at the recent decisions a self-righteous and entitled minority is spewing, like sewage (the smelly, hold-your-nose-I-think-I’m-gonna-puke kind of sewage) across our country. Still, I will say: Thanks for writing this, Kevin. That’s all I have the energy for right now, sadly.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 5, 2022

      I feel your pain, Cinthia. Damn. I can’t remember another time quite like this in my life.

      I’m glad to hear from you tho! Hope you n’ hubby are doing well.

  5. equipsblog
    July 6, 2022

    I am sad that I agree with every word of your post. I had hoped for better for us. Nixon was despicable, but we had more principled politicians then and even Nixon did not dispute his loss to Kennedy.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 6, 2022

      That’s a great point. Everyone used to use the same rule book, probably because they imagined the nasty payback if they went off track. I think everything changed after Bush v. Gore in 2000 …

      • equipsblog
        July 6, 2022

        And Gore never (at least publicly) contested the result. Trump has kept pushing the bar down on anything goes.

      • doowopcity
        July 6, 2022

        I was there. He did.

      • Kevin Brennan
        July 6, 2022

        As I remember it, Gore accepted the Supreme Court ruling so there could be a national “healing.” Everything he did before that would be expected of any candidate, wouldn’t you say?

      • doowopcity
        July 6, 2022

        No, and the reason he accepted was there was no higher court.

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