The Bicentennial is not deceptive. It is quite simple. Two hundred years of freedom from Great Britain. Like an anniversary, it is a notation of time.
Symbolically, it should mean a time of change, a purging, something to put the Mother Country back into the front shrubbery of the Garden Club of World Politics. But we know better than to upset the plans of the campaign committees. True to form, the only time we hear “Issue” is when somebody sneezes.
In fact the Bicentennial has been hit with a strange sort of backlash. Blatant Bicentennial hubbub is out. Shave the underarm of the Bicentennial Beast! Give her a stiff drink and boggle her mind with aimless press conferences! We will show the world that something this obviously exploitable will not be exploited, by God! This is going to take some work.
It’s like the white people who are outraged by blatant racism, who masochistically listen to Redd Foxx mock them and they love it. Meanwhile, they pay the black maid $2.00 an hour plus all the soap operas she can watch on their color television.
Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in the 1830’s about democracy, said:
Have all ages been like ours? And have men always dwelt in a world in which nothing is connected? Where virtue is without genius, and genius without honour? Where love of order is confused with a tyrant’s taste, and the sacred cult of freedom is taken as scorn of law? Where conscience sheds but doubtful light on human actions? Where nothing any longer seems either forbidden or permitted, honest or dishonorable, true or false?