Happy Independence Day to all you Blobophiles out there, and here's to the greatness of America -- which, contrary to the current occupant of the White House, is not something we've lost somewhere and need to regain.
As someone far more notable, de Tocqueville, once said, America is great because America is good. Certainly not always, and not even close on too many shameful occasions, but at least striving to be more often than not.
And so let's celebrate that. Let's celebrate, because for all our faults and discontents, we live in a country where all manner of astounding things are possible.
I mean, even arrested adolescents can rise to the presidency here. So that's something.
And how great is a country where a basketball player (Kevin Durant) can sign a contract for $52 million, and still say he left money on the table?
Or where another basketball player (Paul Millsap) can sign a deal that will pay him $30 million a year, even though he's 32 years old and has a career scoring average of 14.2 points?
Or where discussing the contracts of basketball players is actually a thing?
I don't know if this is what the founders had in mind when they got together in a stuffy room in Philadelphia and told King George to stick it. Certainly they left a lot open to interpretation, and we've been interpretin' the bejeezus out of it since. I sometimes wonder, speaking of that stuffy room, if they might have hashed out a few more details if they'd come along after air conditioning, Right Guard and moisture-wicking fabrics were invented.
But even if they had, I doubt if they could have foreseen an America where leisure (i.e., sports) would have become such a dominant force in the culture. Entire multi-billion dollar industries built around children's games? Great universities subordinating their academic mission to the mad pursuit of an inflated pig's bladder? Iconic American cities prostrating themselves to build immense, garish stadiums, because, by golly, we want guys who are really good at throwing and catching balls, too?
(Or sometimes, not so good. See: The Los Angeles/St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams).
I don't know. I think the founders would have been flabbergasted, and not a little dismayed. They were high-minded folk, after all. They undoubtedly saw in America a new Athens, an incubator of democracy in which art and philosophy and the noblest pursuits of man could flourish.
Then again, maybe John Adams would have just donned a Tom Brady jersey and headed off to pound a few Sammys, boo Roger Goodell and watch the Patriots tool up on the bleeping Jets.
Yeah. I could see that.