I have taken utmost pleasure in the colorful letters which I have received over my column of two weeks ago. You know, the one about the Cult of Mean?
They have been most instructive. I must complement my correspondents on their industry at locating me, as I’m not exactly in the book. Anyway, there are two nagging points that I would like to clear up. First, the term most commonly associated with female canines is spelled with a “T,” and second, my parents were, in fact, married. Keep those cards and letters coming!
Well, the Fourth of July is upon us once again. These annual occasions seem to come around as regularly as Sundays, now. I’ve always enjoyed the Fourth because it’s a low-expectation holiday. Fireworks and enthusiasm seem to be the chief prerequisites.
After that, there are backyard barbecues and other revels. Older residents may remember the parades that Louise and Jim Hill, proprietors of long-time local institution Hills Confectionary, used to organize and lead through the Riverside area of Elizabeth City. The “floats” consisted largely of bikes and coaster wagons festooned with red, white and blue bunting and flags. Lots and lots of flags. Oh, and sparklers, which were only marginally brighter than the faces of the kids who starred in the procession.
I’ve also always liked the uncomplicated but genuine patriotism that has historically accompanied the occasion.
At least it used to be uncomplicated. Nowadays it can get downright confusing. I thought in honor of the day we might examine some of the ways in which nationalism is currently being commemorated across the country by some of our more notable patriots.
• Hobby Lobby, a chain of hobby shops owned by Pentecostal Christian David Green, sued the government for the right to drop insurance coverage for contraception based on religious beliefs. Long story short, the conservative five-justice majority decided in their favor. Ruling, in effect, that “closely held” corporations can deny anything they wish to anyone they wish as long as it’s based on religious principles. The slippery slope here is glaringly obvious. If corporations are allowed to discriminate against individuals based on religious beliefs, then individuals who work for a private company are now at the mercy of any whim their employer may have ... as long as it’s religious in nature. This flies directly in the face of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The justices know this. They simply don’t care. The workforce just got a lot meaner—- ahm — more discourteous.
• Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner is currently preparing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, because he has “exceeded his presidential powers.” “Imperial” is the term most frequently bandied about by Congressional Republicans in describing him. The specific issue is executive orders, with which, Republicans are claiming, Obama has run wild.
Let’s define wild. Obama has, to date, issued 182 such orders, less than any president in 100 years — save one. George H. W. Bush issued only 166. To put this in perspective, George W. Bush issued 291, Ronald Reagan 381, Dwight Eisenhower 484 and Theodore Roosevelt 1,081. All of these gentlemen were Republican presidents and none were sued — or even substantively challenged — by the opposition party. But Democrats, to hear some tell it, are the vicious, partisan, power-abusers of the modern political era. OK.
• One of my favorite pundits in the whole world is Ann Coulter. If you are not familiar with Ann, you should acquaint yourself as rapidly as possible. She makes the rounds of all the networks, gifting us with her fearless pronouncements, but her home court is Fox News. Ann has described herself thusly: “I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second — and don’t you ever forget it!” Wow. You just don’t encounter that kind of unvarnished honesty anymore.
Her latest target is soccer. You know, as in the World Cup? Millions of Americans have been tuning into the championship series on TV, prompting a surge in the sport’s popularity. For decades, millions of all-American youngsters have played soccer all across the land. Its popularity is unquestioned.
So what is Ann’s take on the game? She flatly states that its rising popularity is evidence of America’s surging “moral decay.” Pretty much everyone who plays it, according to Ann, is a wuss. Soccer, in Ann’s words, is a “fruity” sport. Amazing. Those “fruity” guys look pretty athletic to me. But what do I know. I’m probably a wuss, too.
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth. Happy birthday, America!
Bud Wright is a published author who resides in Elizabeth City.