Americans are starved for Independence Day style upheaval
By Ben Bartee - July 03, 2020

244 years ago, America’s Founding Fathers kicked off the American Revolution in raucous style with the penning of the immortal Declaration of Independence. They asserted with profundity humanity’s inherent, universal right to thwart its oppressors – at the barrel of a gun if necessary.

Farmers armed with shoddy muskets, pitchforks and rage alone defeated the most powerful Empire of the age in miraculous fashion. Militia volunteers died in brutal fighting, freezing winter marches, and enemy prisoner camps by the thousands.

By throwing off the shackles of its subservient status as a colony, the American upstarts inspired handfuls of sister colonies of the European powers to do the same.

The insurrectionist language of the Declaration of Independence, the hallmark of Americana, rings as true in 2020 as it did in 1776: “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another… they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

In 2020, the “causes which impel” us to separation include:

  • The pre-meditated, ongoing rape of the middle class that has endured in the halls of the neoliberal power establishment since the Reagan Era.
  • The systematic, palpably unconstitutional wholesale surveillance of American citizens by the security state.
  • The mismanagement of the crushing economic shutdown, coupled with minimal help to the working poor, that lavished obscene trillions in giveaways on the biggest Fortune 500 companies in the world.
  • A militarized police force that functions on the same heavy-handed principles that guided the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The job-offshoring tsunami that has continued unabated since the 80s at the hands of greedy multinational executives looking to turn a quick buck on the backs of third-world slave laborers.

In short, in the modern era, the life of the average American differs only slightly from that of a 19th-century Russian serf. Whereas the serfs self-flagellated at the altar of the Czar, thus Americans suffer for the sake of the almighty corporate hegemony.

The sun will rise on this July 4th morning to a nation that would be nearly unrecognizable to its Founders. As statues in their honor are marked for destruction by rioting mobs with little to no awareness of the symbolic implications of their acts, our national identity – the essential American character — that has been carefully curated through centuries of struggle and reform seems to have stagnated irredeemably into nihilism and decay.

Ronald Reagan once promised — in an era of relative political harmony on the domestic front that now seems unfathomable – that it was “morning in America.”


In 2020, rather, we find ourselves mourning the death of America. Even if the iconography largely remains for the time being, the foundational cornerstones have been stripped. Nothing will ever be the same; there will be no return to the idealistic image of Americana that most citizens were taught to regard as their birthright.

Of all the patriotic buzzwords in the American lexicon that news actors in makeup pay lip service to but that do not exist in the present political reality, unity might be the most apropos.

America is divided politically now more than ever since the Civil War. In fact, a second civil war now seems imminent. The growing rhetorical gulfs between the coastal elites and “flyover country” in the heartland, between rich and poor, and along racial and other fault lines threaten to ripple into all-out physical warfare on the streets of America.

The concept of national unity is predicated on the idea that we, as a nation, understand our interconnections – our shared heritage, language, and culture. It seems now, though, that however unified the American populace once was, the material situation on the ground has devolved into political fiefdoms that exist at permanent odds with one another.

The flag serves as a primary symbol of national unity. The once-hopeful language of the iconic stars-and-stripes imagery is one that can be conveyed without speech. In times gone by, the sight of the American flag was a welcome signal that an American was in the company of peers. It served, in short, as a rallying, unifying force.

We learned in public school what the flag theoretically unifies us for, but we may overlook what it was intended to unify the populace against – namely,  symbolic defiance of despotism in the form of King George III,

In 2020, the despotic forces that plague American life are not European monarchs, but rather cocaine-addled Wall Street psychopaths, chicken-hawk warmongers like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, and the medical establishment’s goon squad headed up by Anthony Fauci at the levers of power.

Like an obedient lapdog, Fauci serves American Empire power the way it wants to be served.

The only answer is a global reset:  Donald Trump pledged to #DraintheSwamp as a central promise of his candidacy in 2015 and 2016. Instead, he filled his cabinet with the most loathsome cast of Washington D.C. swamp creatures ever assembled under a single roof.

As an opportunist with an uncanny ability to read a room and a deep pedigree in the social hierarchy of elite Manhattan culture, Trump never represented meaningful change, although he wore the uniform and did the dance.

What his unprecedented, wholly unpredicted 2016 win demonstrated for anyone willing to heed the message is that the American populace is starved – not for mere “reform” (a meaningless buzzword of status quo managers in the social engineering class) but for the wholesale upheaval of the rotten American political class.

Here’s hoping that on this July 4th, the immortal words of Thomas Paine, a hero’s hero among American revolutionaries, might stir the Empire’s subjects to revolt: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

Our collective tolerance, God willing, has run out. It’s pitchfork season.

Ben Bartee a Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs. Contact him via his portfolio or on LinkedIn.