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Will This Be Our Last Independence Day?

By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

1976 was the Bicentennial Year with celebrations and recognition of our nation’s birthday everywhere. From sixty second TV spots highlighting great moments in our history to fire hydrants painted like American patriots to specially minted coins in our pockets, we were united in our pride.

(If you were around in 1976, you’ll definitely recognize this!)

The climax of course was July 4th, Independence Day. My mother had given me permission to stay up all night because I wanted to watch the sunrise on the 200th birthday of America.  Even as a young boy I realized this was a once in a lifetime event, that I probably wouldn’t live to see the tricentennial, but figured I would be alive for the Semiquincentennial – 250th in 2026.

We are now two years away from an Independence Day a quarter of a millennium in the making.  While I’m fairly certain that I’ll be here for it, whether or not America will still have its independence to celebrate is anything but certain.  As a nation we must decide in four months if we are to remain the free and democratic republic our founders envisioned or vote to install a self-professed “day one” dictator who has publicly put forth his authoritarian plans and design for America.

Related article: “Axios: Trump Plans A Much More ‘Imperial’ Presidency If Reelected” 

Never in my wildest thoughts as a boy, did I nor could I have imagined the possibility that I would be here on July 4, 2026, but the America we’ve celebrated since its founding would not.  Even in my jaded, gay, grownup mind, whose idyllic boyhood perceptions of America have long since given way to the critical observation and activism needed to make this a more perfect Union can I quite grasp that very distinct possibility.

Previous post: “What, to the LGBTQ, Is the 4th of July?” 

The SCOTUS decision this week on Presidential Immunity from prosecution has all but given carte blanche to any egomaniacal and dishonorable Commander-in-Chief to act in any way they saw fit under the guise of an “official duty.”  They essentially removed the last guardrails that would constrain the Former President, if re-elected, from enacting “Project 2025”  and turning America into an ultra-Right, Christian Nationalist, authoritarian nation.

In 35 words Thomas Jefferson laid out for the world the thesis of America in terms so plain and clear as to need no explanation.

What is also plain and clear is that the former President and his acolytes, if given power, will do the absolute antithesis of those founding principles.

They’ve already begun taking control over women by states denying them the right to have an abortion – a ban which they’ve committed to making national.  They’ve begun marginalizing and disenfranchising Black people and people of color by repealing affirmative action, voter suppression, and plans to put millions of migrants and even dreamers into concentration camps for mass deportation.  They’ve begun to erase LGBTQ people by censoring their lives, stories, and history through laws banning books by and about them as well as any discussion of them in classrooms.

 

What’s outrageous is that it’s only their ultra-Right minority who supports these policies and practices.  The vast majority of American believe abortion should be legal, expanding voting rights, pathways to citizenship, and LGBTQ equality and protections.  The only thing more outrageous is their clear and unadulterated hypocrisy.

For a minority so vehemently outraged by perceived groomers and indoctrination, they have passed state laws doing just that.   Florida teaches that the enslaved gained beneficial skills from their forced labor. Louisiana has mandated the 10 Commandments be posted in every classroom; and the Bible is now required teaching in Oklahoma, effective immediately.

The key word in that paragraph is minority.  These ultra-Right, Christian, racists are the minority – albeit a very vocal, tenacious, self-righteous, and ruthless minority.  But our Declaration of Independence states first and foremost that we are all equal; and our U.S. Constitution begins “We the People…” as in all of us.  We are the majority and we need to start acting like it!

We need to stand together putting aside our differences and grievances for now and stand shoulder to shoulder. We need to show up together in November and act together by choosing to remain a flawed but free and democratic nation and rejecting authoritarianism at the ballot box.  No one is coming to save us from the fascist minority – we must save ourselves.  That’s what the founders intended us to do, and the framers set forth for us as a nation.

We have two choices.

Ignore the rhetoric of retribution and hate, acts of division, and surrender ourselves and our children to fascist control and the whims of a tyrant.  In which case, we’ll most assuredly be forced to celebrate Trump on July 4, 2025 and thereafter.

Or…

Stand as one in a diverse and united majority to reject those who will end the American experiment at 248 years.  We have the power and ability to do that and to ensure we celebrate our Semiquincentennial on July 4, 2026 with liberty and justice for all.

 

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