The world’s largest, most ancient, and most exemplary republic observed its bicentennial not long ago. One would expect such an occasion to be a time of rededication and renewal, of restoration and recovery. Instead, we had a value-free official celebration that was expensive, dull, and that touched only a small minority of citizens. At least the New Leftists of the People’s Bicentennial, unlike the middle class bureaucrats of the official observance, took the American Revolution seriously. Still, they failed to persuade most of us that the redheaded Southern planters, hardbitten New England fishermen, and cold-eyed backcountry riflemen who fought it should be understood chiefly as predecessors of Mao and Fidel.
All the wealth, talent, and global power of the American mass media did not succeed, as far as I know, in producing one memorable show that portrayed the American founding meaningfully to the American people.
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