(This post is part of the A To Z Challenge 2014.)
I'm going through one of those phases I go through. Suddenly I can't get enough of the Revolutionary War and the Founders, and I'm tearing through books like I'm in college again, even listening to Joanne Freeman's Yale course via ITunes U, burning through Mike Duncan's marvelous podcast Revolutions, and starting through the Gordon Wood books on Audible. This, like any fever, will probably abate in time, and I will become obsessed with something else. 'Twas ever thus.
I'm not someone who is regularly overcome with patriotic feeling. It always seems false and phony and holier than thou to me. (I don't think less of you if you have those feelings. I'm just saying that I don't.) I instinctively distrust whenever a feeling is assumed to be universal, because I don't think anything ever is.
The more I learn and relearn about this period (I'm quite forgetful), I am struck by a simultaneous awe for what occurred against tremendous odds, and a sense of shame at how much was left out, and how very imperfect they all were, and how many Americans still struggle to this day for their "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".
Baseball historian Bill James, talking about another systemic injustice, the color bar in Major League Baseball, once pointed out that we should look kindly upon the mistakes of the past in the hopes that future generations look kindly upon our own. The more I learn about the world, the more convinced I am that I don't know anything about anything, and everything is more complicated than I thought it was.
I still hate the Yankees, though.