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Reflecting on America’s Birthday: The Journey from a Vibrant Democracy to its Current State

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A Eulogy for the United States on its Birthday: A Reflection of What Was and What is Now

On this day, July 4th, we gather not just in celebration of the United States’ birth but also in mournful recognition of its symbolic death. While the flags wave high, fireworks illuminate the night, and beers clink at barbecues, a great number of us remain starkly aware of the nation’s transformation: a shift from a once vibrant democracy to what it now is.

The Death of a Nation

The United States we remember, rife with patriotic ideals cast down by our forefathers, no longer exists. Its death, recorded officially on July 1, 2024, was slow and agonizing. We watched as it was shot down by mass shootings, tarnished by the scorching effects of climate change that its leaders denied and ultimately brought to a near-death state by a cancerous combination of activities that left it non-functional. Most tragically, the United States’ demise was due to self-inflicted wounds.

A Shift from Democracy to Autocracy

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court, penned by Justice John Roberts, was the metaphorical bullet to the nations’ head. The decision to grant the President immunity from prosecution for “official” acts while in office marks a grim day in American history. It effectively positions the Supreme Court in the middle of partisan political squabbles, an involvement our founders meticulously aimed to avoid. The subtle transformation from democracy to autocracy was thus complete.

The Start of the Descent

The descent began with seeds planted by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump in recent decades. The initial promise, stemming from rebellion against oppressive colonial rule, led to the formation of a government deriving its power from the consent of the governed. This ideal, though ambitious, fell short as it neglected the voices of women and Blacks. Yet, despite these hiccups of democracy, the struggles for justice and equality triumphed, leading to reforms, women suffrage and abolition of slavery.

The Rise and Fall

By the early 20th Century, democracy seemed sturdy. Post-World War I, the United States rose as a formidable force on the international stage. The resilience and zeal of its people made it a global superpower. This period was marked by the reign of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who wisely alerted the nation of the lurking danger of greed and military-industrial complex. Yet, in our state of euphoria, we ignored the warning signs.

The Kennedy Era

The apogee came with John F. Kennedy. The youthful charismatic leader urged citizens towards solidarity and collective responsibility, igniting unprecedented optimism. Little did we know that the fatal disease brewing within would unravel the nation’s fabric in the coming decades. The assassination of Kennedy was the first public manifestation of the hidden malaise.

The Final Stages

While the disease claimed our cognitive functions, we focused on technological advancement and economic growth, all while neglecting the growing wealth disparity, racism, sexism, and poor healthcare. Our elected officials became more callous than ever before. The judiciary and Congress retreated from progressive ideals, paving the way for Christian Nationalism, a confrontation of America’s cherished separation of church and state. Following this, women’s rights were thwarted, and the education system deteriorated – symptoms of an ailing democracy.

President Joe Biden’s Attempt at Revival

President Joe Biden attempted to spark hope by opposing the Supreme Court’s decision to set the president above the law. However, regardless of his verbal resistance, a deeper change is needed if democracy is to be revived.

The Path Forward

As we mark another year of the country’s birth, we find ourselves grieving for our lost democracy – lost in shock, denial, pain and guilt, with some succumbing to anger and depression. However, it’s essential to remember the final stages in this brutal process: upward turn, acceptance, and hope.

The United States may now be just a remnant of what it once stood for, but there is hope yet for rebirth. After all, this was a nation built on change and resistance, a nation built on the dreams of justice and liberty. The question we now find ourselves facing with urgency is how to pave this new path forward. Regardless, one thing remains certain: the United States is dead, long live the United States.


Reflecting on America's Birthday: The Journey from a Vibrant Democracy to its Current State

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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