The Confusing Meaning of July 4th

On Jul 4, 1976, President Gerald Ford addressed a large crowd at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

His advisors worried that his previous speeches on the meaning of the founding were getting lost in the media shuffle, and they wanted him to make a definitive statement about the bicentennial.

This was his chance. Everyone would be watching and the media had to cover this speech. One advisor wanted him to hit a policy home run by announcing something substantive at the event.

Ford delivered a confusing speech long on platitudes and short on history.

No one remembers it today because very few people remembered it just a few days after it was over.

It was vanilla and typical neoconservative nonsense based on the “proposition nation myth” of American history.

Ford’s flop exemplified his entire administration but more importantly the infiltration of the neoconservatives into American policy.

You see, one of his advisors was none other than Dick Cheney. His policy wonks were a “Who’s Who” of Lincolnian nationalists bent on centralization of power in Washington D.C.

Ford’s speech, however, is why most Americans find the Declaration to be so confusing.

One the one hand, he mentions the importance of American independence, i.e. secession. On the other, he plays up the proposition nation myth.

He references Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Adams, and FDR in a nationalist romp through American history.

You would think that the Declaration was designed to create big government in America.

Or at the very least you might be inclined to support some leftist reform movement.

I wanted to highlight this speech because every politician will make a similar speech today, and in four years, when we have the 250th celebration of independence, every politician will make a terrible speech that will be forgotten in a few days.

Independence Day has no meaning because American’s don’t value independence.

I discuss Ford and the holiday on episode 661 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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