Here in the United States, we celebrate the Fourth of July as our nation’s birthday. The colonists declared independence from England, they fought a war and eventually formed the country we call home. Today it is a holiday of fireworks displays and outdoor feasts. Our authors are taking the day off, and hopefully you are as well.

And yet, in 2018 this day is bittersweet as our American democracy chokes on the bile of our brutal and ignorant leadership. “A republic, if you can keep it.” That was Benjamin Franklin’s assessment of the new government he helped form in the late eighteenth century. Can we? Do we wish to? Ultimately those labels matters less than the humanity of our actions. No matter what we call it, our current state of government is a disgrace. On this day of national celebration, let us resolve to do better.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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