Independence Day!

Well, that was yesterday. I remember back in 1997 talking to a Czech guy who was confused as to why Americans would have a holiday commemorating Independence Day. The real point, though, is this: Not be an left-wing America-hater about it all, or to deny that our Founders had some legitimate grievances* but in retrospect wouldn’t America and the world both be better off if the USA had remained more closely associated with the British Empire and her Commonwealth? After all, if the erstwhile “greatest generation” had gotten in on the Hitler-fighting action at the same time as Canada and Australia did, a whole lot of trouble could have been avoided. See also World War One.

In that light, it seems to me that while the Revolution should not be condemned, it is something to be regretted: a failure of Imperial policy and an inability of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to work out some thorny governance and burden-sharing issues. Not much of an occassion for fireworks.

But if fireworks we are meant to have (and apparently we are) then must they really be accompanied by the 1812 Overture? The United States, after all, was on the other side of that particular war,** which I think renders it pretty unsuitable for patriotic occassions.

* Favorite grievance: “[A]bolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies,” which I believe refers to being too nice to the Catholic Church in Québec.

** I always wonder why they don’t teach the War of 1812 as being a (rather small) part of the Napoleonic Wars in American history classes, and wonder if French or British or Russian schools do it differently.