We’re taking the day off here at The A.V. Club in honor of Independence Day, with apologies to our friends in other countries whose thirst for content will go unslaked while we run around blowing things up and drinking from cans literally emblazoned with our country’s name for when we forget what we’re celebrating. And we have our reasons. For you see, if somehow you haven’t already heard, America’s most patriotic holiday has a weird vibe this year.
This time last year, our first black president welcomed Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae to the White House. This July 4th weekend, meanwhile, our first pro-wrestler president is speaking at a concert/rally sponsored by evangelical megachurches ostensibly in honor of military veterans, but really in honor of himself. Take this DPRK-worthy ditty (the song starts at 34:28, if YouTube doesn’t sync up properly):
That’s the First Baptist Dallas Church performing an anthem entitled—what else?—“Make America Great Again,” a stirring, if not especially lyrically inventive, vision of our glorious Trumpian future that’s already been registered with Christian Copyright Licensing International. At this celebration of the freedoms that make America a leader among nations, Trump spent a good portion of his speech attacking the free press explicitly protected by the First Amendment of our constitution, saying, “The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not.”
So, yeah, things are weird.