A 4th of July We Can All Get Behind

During the 20th century the world increasingly disapproved of colonialism. Many of us alive today read about, or even watched in real time as European powers receded or were forced out of lands they conquered, after having imposed their cultures on nations who were glad to see them go. Western societies are wealthier for it, while Asia, Africa, and Latin America are all trying to recover. The legacy Europe left them is one of political turmoil and the languages of oppressors.

After the Holocaust and World War II it no longer proved to be economically advantageous to occupy governments from afar. Not only that, it was no longer fashionable.

If we all now celebrate the end of imperialism, or at least the beginning of the end, then we should feel the same way about the liberation of thirteen colonies from British rule in the 18th century.

But if we are honest, we must acknowledge that historical records tend to recognize the successful revolts.

Pontiac’s Rebellion failed in 1766, and numerous other armed resistances by Native Americans eventually proved futile. Denmark Vesey failed in 1822. Nat Turner failed in 1831. John Brown failed in 1859. The treatment by American citizens against Africans was far more inhumane than the ways Britain abused her colonies.

Perhaps we should keep the Fourth, but rename it “Uprising Day” in honor of all peoples who stood for the dignity of their families. That way we honor the Founding Fathers, but do not make them more important than all the others.

This would accord dignity to all of us, and leave no room for a sense of superiority for any.

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