04 July 2005

Choice of Holiday

I suppose having a holiday during the first couple weeks of summer isn't a bad idea. The barbecue weather is great, the kids are out of school, it's light later, the NBA playoffs are finally over… but, to quote myself from two years ago:

Another meaningless holiday in progress. Really, now: celebrate the semiformalistic declaration of a war that had been in progress for seven months and wouldn't be over for seven years? That's sort of like celebrating the filing of Brown v. Board of Education instead of the dates the decisions were issued—particularly since the Declaration of Independence is only modestly reflected in the Constitution. In fact, I'd propose replacing the Fourth of July with a date based upon the Constitution (either its signing or the date it came into effect), except that the barbecue weather is a helluva lot better in early July.

This nation is about the Constitution, not about a bunch of revolutionaries violating their oaths to the Crown in a hall in Philadelphia. (Conversely, the Crown had violated its duties to the colonists, but that's a very viewpoint-influenced issue!) As a military officer, I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Not to live up to the ideals in the Declaration of Independence; I'm not a slaveowner. Not to protect the flag of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; symbology is all well and good, but the Constitution is more than a symbol—and the flag is not. Not to put forth Christian values and take Jerusalem back from the heathens… sorry, wrong crusade there.

So on this holiday, I'm reflecting on lost opportunities and strange symbolism: Declaring victory is worth celebrating, but the victory itself is not.