In the 231 years of American independence, the United States has stood for many things, from the opening up of a new frontier to becoming a bastion of democracy in the cold war. Yet while by and large the country has much to be proud of, it has also had much to regret. The strange persistence of slavery in the Land of Liberty and bigotry and racist violence have persisted even to our own day. The astonishing despoliation of the land that must have truly seemed like Paradise to the early settlers by ugly strips and endless suburbs also takes some getting used to- and the pollution and waste that the American dream produces are not far from shocking.
As the lamest of lame duck Presidents adds to his grim legacy of failure by pardoning a former associate for his crimes, it is clear that the US is undergoing a period of reflection, a dark night that will only lift when the 43rd President and his unpleasant gang are out of office.
The fall-out of the Bear Stearns funds collapse is unsettling markets that are already jittery over the sub prime collapse- and the consequences may prove to be extremely unpredictable. Indeed it is hard to construct very many positive scenarios that solve the growing economic imbalances that are emerging across the globe.
Yet the US remains a flexible and dynamic place- and a great country, despite its pygmy President- so to the many American readers of this blog I wish you a great holiday - it is good to know that despite the little unpleasantness 231 years ago (and indeed the slap that we were compelled to deliver in 1812) we are still bound together by ties of fellowship: democracy, loyalty and history and of course the easily understood variants of our common language.
Happy Birthday America!