Berlin Law Firm - July 2019

LEX CANIS THE Lee Berlin Kyle Killam Andrea Brown

Make Patriotism Cool Again! 4th of July in a Polarized Age

I’m just going to come out and say it. In many places in this country, you can’t celebrate the Fourth of July like you used to. The misplaced sensitivity of those on the left and left-er coasts has reached a fever pitch, and you can’t so much as salute the stars and stripes without being called a bigot. God forbid you show your support to our commander in chief. Now, I’m not advocating for mandatory patriotism; that’s not an idea our country was founded on, but neither is the notion that we should spend our days apologizing just for being red-blooded Americans. Yet, in coastal cities and college towns across the nation, folks like me are shouted down just for being proud of where we come from. I didn’t give years of my life to the army for some sociology major to tell me I can’t stand during the national anthem. I’m not even meaning to be partisan here, as impossible as that can feel these days. It seems to me that in the past, being proud of your country wasn’t a liberal or a conservative thing. I come from Montana, where staunch conservatives and leftist democrats coexist a stone’s throw away from each other, or at least, they used to. Growing up, it certainly felt like ranchers and university professors alike were proud to be American in their own way, and both camps would revel at the chance to celebrate their country on the Fourth of July. Somewhere along the way, we lost that shared appreciation.

For my part, I picked up a strong libertarian streak from my time in Big Sky Country. I’m not one to tell people what they can or can’t smoke or who they can or can’t love, and I’m certainly not about to begin telling people which days they can or can’t celebrate. But is it too much to ask that I and others like me be treated with the same decency? As a lawyer, my whole life revolves around giving everyone a voice and a fair shake. If you say this country can do better, great! Make your ideas heard and let’s get to work to fix things. Contrary to popular belief, we conservatives aren’t under the delusion that the U.S. is and has always been perfect in every way. Hell, “Make America Great Again ” is an acknowledgment that we can and will do better. But if your idea of fixing things is to silence everyone who disagrees with you, then sorry, comrade, I don’t want you at my barbecue.

Texas and Arkansas, making this possibly the only state you can drive around with a MAGA bumper sticker and not have your car keyed. Even Alaskans have to put up with Anchorage hippies and worse, Canadians. This is probably the only state I could say this in a newsletter and gain readers. So this year, I’ll be raising a toast to Oklahoma, as well as to the nation we all call home. Even more than in Montana, I feel safe to express my views here, which serves as a perfect reminder of how precious the values of free speech and equality we’re meant to honor on the Fourth really are. Despite the division and lack of patriotism in this country, I think there is at least one thing we can all unite around this Independence Day. At the time of writing, President Trump has just made his visit to London, and predictably, the city came out to protest him. Watching the news, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of English citizens slighting our nation while they’re in the midst of the Brexit debacle. Regardless of what you think of Trump, we as Americans can all agree that we’re very glad to have won our independence from the Brits. We can sit back with the greatest economy in the world and watch our former overlords fumble their way out of the EU. Despite our differences, at least we aren’t those blokes.

That’s why I’m so grateful to celebrate the Fourth of July right here in Oklahoma. There really is no better bastion of conservatism in the United States. We’ve got plenty of buffers from the coasts thanks to states like

God Bless America, – Lee Berlin

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