Eight years out from the sestercentennial (fancy talk for 250th anniversary) of American independence, you have to wonder what kind of country is going to exist by that point.
Granted, division and friction have been constants throughout the American experiment.
The drive for independence from Great Britain was not waged with unanimity, as many colonists who were born in the New World and had never set foot inside our Mother Country joined Loyalist legions battling their neighbors who wanted separation, greater liberty, and self-government.
Regionalism, westward expansion, and slavery would threaten the union during the War of 1812 and decades of legislative and political battles until real fighting commenced in Charleston Harbor. Post-Reconstruction America was narrowly split in politics. In the four presidential elections conducted after US Grant’s reelection, the swing of a single state determined the electoral vote winner and 1% tipping the scales in the popular vote.
The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights movement (and the terrible reaction to it by southern authorities), and the mass anti-Vietnam War protests were flashpoints that affected the national psyche and created widespread angst.
However we are a half-century removed from those events, which begs the questionwhy is there so much outrage now in 2018? And what exactly is it over?
This is arguably the best time to ever be an American.
Unemployment is low as domestic and international companies reinvest in manufacturing here.
While the United States is still engaged in a prolonged war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and across the globe against Islamic radical terrorists, the military has been all-volunteer since the 1970s.
Gay marriage, what we were led to believe to be the last frontier in US Civil Rights, was legalized not through brutal confrontations similar to Selma but from a 5-4 US Supreme Court decision.
And technology has transformed society practically overnight through the smartphone which has changed how we shop, communicate, watch movies, and pay bills.
Yet in the midst of this security and prosperity we see Republican officials being run out of restaurants, perpetual protests in the streets and inside government office buildings, calls for confrontation by Democratic congresswoman, the attempted massacre of members of the Republican congressional caucus, and a new generation of Americans seemingly willing to embrace socialism.
The Left blames the angry tweets of President Donald Trump, though our chief executive with an itchy social media trigger finger.
I don’t buy that for a minute.
We are at this curious angry place in American history because of the failed educational system (from the grammar schools to the universities), a monolithic leftist media-entertainment cartel, and an emerging deep character flaw in the new American society where spirituality has been supplanted with materialism and vanity and religion with technology.
The latest protest craze has been over the incarceration of people illegally crossing the United States border. The Left has screamed over their detention without offering a solution.
Shall all illegal immigrants be issued permanent residency status, a two-week stay at the Hampton Inn, and a debit card pre-loaded with $2000?
The only detail they’ve so far let slip is a call for abolishing the Immigration Customs and Enforcement. So who will manage who comes to and goes from the United States?
That’s not their concern so long as they are viewed as being politically fashionable in the eyes of the radical fringe groups who exert a greater say in running the Democratic Party.
While not in power and thus not in a position to actually impose anything, the Democrats’ drift into the sphere of open borders and permanent residency for non-citizens (what you have when you no longer deport people) is disturbing. They’ll deny they’re for it in word while accelerating it in deed.
A nation that does not protect its borders and regulates what foreign nationals come into the country and for how long is on the cusp of becoming a refugee camp divided against itself.
Finally when the United States turns 250 in the year 2026, will we have gotten over our self-loathing and contempt for any non-radical national figure who predates MLK or will the characteristic Fourth of July pyrotechnic display be replaced with a giant bonfire consuming our no longer acceptable national heritage?
America has a lot to work out between now and then.