July the Fourth: The Union, Now More Than Ever

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” — Abraham Lincoln.

The official flag of the United States during the Civil War. The 34 stars represent the original 34 states just before the South seceded. The flag was flown by the Union from July 4, 1861 through July 3, 1863.

I recently read an op-ed in the National Review entitled “Will the United States Disintegrate?”. Well, that’s a pretty unsettling question to say the least. What is perhaps even more unsettling, however, is how frighteningly appropriate such a question is, given the perniciousness of the current divisions that line the ever so delicate fabric of our Union.

In the op-ed, the author ponders not a second civil war, but a “soft disunion”, in which the predominantly Republican and Democrat states agree to part ways, unable to politically and culturally coexist as fellow countrymen.

This is a very frightening reality to ponder, where the chasms caused by political polarization have grown so wide that the seemingly unbreakable commonwealth our founders established more than two-and-a-half centuries ago is now unrecognizable, condemned to the dustbin of history’s pile of defunct civilizations.

The history of the United States so far, in many ways, is a story of both great triumph and tragedy. The nation triumphed initially when it successfully severed itself from the monarchical rule of Great Britain, shocking the world. But less than 100 years later, the young nation would embroil itself in its own manufactured tragedy. Over 600,000 men, both white and black, would lose their lives to rid the Union of the sin of slavery, finally joining the many Western countries that had abolished the practice.

This is also a nation that helped to save the world from the grip of Adolf Hitler’s Gestapo, put the first man on the moon, defeated Communism, and became the most prosperous and most powerful civilization the world has ever known.

Unfortunately, however, our nation’s subversive ideologues are regularly given the center-stage. The New York Times publishing the 1619 Project is a perfect example of their self-admitted intention to re-center the American narrative solely upon the past sins of America, in an attempt to discredit and belittle its achievements. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, despite being filled to the brim with ironically bigoted and racist rhetoric under the guise of “antiracism”, continues to be promoted and applauded by activists, universities, and politicians.

I have no qualms with learning about and acknowledging our nation’s legacy of slavery and state-endorsed discrimination. It is important, especially for a free republic such as ours, to inform future generations about what went horribly wrong, and why. But there is a difference between learning and acknowledging and disingenuously shaming and indicting.

On July the Fourth, 2021, our republic will turn 245 years old. This may seem old, but in the grand scheme of things, our nation is young compared to the vast majority of the nations of the Earth. China, for example, a nation proving itself to be one of America’s biggest adversaries, has been around for more than two thousand years. The same can be said for the Egyptians. The United Kingdom, our former mother country, has had a similarly long lifespan, with the history of the British Isles going back even further.

The United States, though we rarely seem to realize, is still a young nation, and in some ways, still a fragile one. Our people have been especially reminded of that fragility recently, regardless of whether or not we realize it. To clarify, I don’t mean fragile in the narrowest of terms. Yes, we have the world’s most powerful military and largest economy. But our socio-cultural fabric is most likely the weakest it has ever been.

If there is anything human history has shown us, it’s that nations of all shapes and sizes, ideologies and cultures, need both social and cultural cohesion to survive. When this cohesion is lost, it is usually very hard to regain, and usually spells the end for said civilization.

The Fourth of July is a momentous occasion, one that is traditionally celebrated by all Americans to commemorate the nation’s founding. Recognizing this historical event gives our people a starting point. Just like an individual cannot truly know who they are if they are unable to recall the past events that shaped them, a people cannot determine their national identity without recalling the past events of our history, and that means all of our history, not just the bad parts.

This is why all Americans should be weary when they hear people on the left trying to convince people that the United States really began in 1619 with the importation of the first slaves to North America, it did not. The colonies may have started then, but the United States, as a sovereign political entity, as a republic, was a concept not even considered until much later.

So, while the activists and virtue-signalers are taking to social media, posting about how they won’t be celebrating the Fourth of July because of how horrifically racist and evil America is, do be aware of the further construction of false narratives. Bari Weiss sums it up perfectly in an article featured in her Substack newsletter, Common Sense With Bari Weiss:

Do not nod along when you hear the following: That Abraham Lincoln’s name on a public school or his likeness on a statue is white supremacy. (It is not; he is a hero.) That separating people into racial affinity groups is progressive. (It is a form of segregation.) That looting has no victims (untrue) and that small-business owners can cope anyway because they have insurance (nonsense). That any disparity of outcome is evidence of systemic oppression (false). That America is evil. (It is the last hope on Earth.)

In addition, if you’re a person who has cut off long-term friendships or relationships solely due to political views or ideology, I challenge you to take the time to reach out to them. This goes for you too, die-hard Trump supporters. Wish them a happy Fourth of July. Enjoy a nice barbeque with family and friends. But most importantly, remind yourself that everything we regularly take for granted was built upon the backs of our forebears. And though they were not perfect or morally impeccable (who is?), we owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices and contributions to this nation.

I hope the author of that National Review op-ed isn’t correct about his pessimistic notion of a “soft disunion”, or any disunion for that matter.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. — Abraham Lincoln.

May the Union truly live on forever.

Happy Fourth,

Luke Lattanzi

Luke Lattanzi is an opinion editor at conservative digital magazine, American Pigeon.