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Histoire politique : Donald Trump a-t-il corrompu l’esprit d’Independence Day ?

Patti Davis, "The Founding Fathers would be ashamed of Donald Trump’s egocentric, militaristic July 4th", USA TODAY, 4 juillet 2019.

When I was very young — 6 or 7 is my memory — my parents thought it would be a fun idea to take me to the Hollywood Bowl for the fireworks show on July Fourth. I remember the car ride at sunset, sitting in the back seat with the window down and a warm breeze blowing across me. And then I remember sitting in a hard chair very close to the main floor when suddenly the world in front of me erupted into fiery shards and huge arching shapes.

The noise was deafening. I began screaming and crying, my hands clapped tightly over my ears in a vain attempt to block out the sound, which was more frightening to me than the fireworks, although they scared me, too. My parents had no choice but to take me out of there. On the drive home, I was still crying. But by then it was because I felt awful for ruining my parents’ evening.

My weeping continued as my mother put me to bed, and she dispatched my father to come in and talk to me. He was always the one designated for soothing an upset child. He sat on the edge of my bed and told me I didn’t need to feel bad, some people are just frightened by loud noises.

Then he told me that the Fourth of July was a very important occasion, with or without fireworks, because on this day a very long time ago, America freed herself from Britain and became the independent country that we now live in. Actually, he said, the declaration was agreed upon two days earlier and a man named John Adams believed that July 2, 1776, would from that point on be a celebratory day, so he wrote to his wife announcing this. I got so caught up in the story, and wondering whether they had mailmen back then, I stopped crying.

Fireworks still scare me. Each year, I put in earplugs and console myself with the meaning of the holiday — the birth of a nation, a grand experiment in freedom and democracy that, even with a few missteps, seems to be working out well.

Donald Trump, having failed to produce a military parade for his inauguration and again on Veterans Day, has decided to hijack the one holiday that has remained purely patriotic — not partisan, not crisscrossed with divisions and bitterness, but simply and earnestly a day to mark our gratitude for the America we live in.

The America we live in is slipping further and further from the dreams of the men who penned the Declaration of Independence, who stood up boldly against tyranny and believed that demagogues had no right to control the destiny of people and nations.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." — Declaration of Independence

“Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite president, me.” — Donald Trump

Relationships only survive if people remember and honor the foundational elements that created those unions. That’s true for marriages, partnerships and friendships. It’s also true for countries. If we forget that America began in defiance of tyranny, that it reached high for the concept of a free, democratic nation, then we have severed ourselves from what the Founding Fathers saw as our potential for greatness. This country was conceived in men’s hearts, not in the narrow wiliness of political opportunism and greed. To lose sight of that is to make ourselves easy victims. For people like Trump, a country is just another acquisition.

In 1983, the big scandal around the Fourth of July was that Interior Secretary James Watt wanted to ban the Beach Boys from performing on the National Mall. Both my mother (First Lady Nancy Reagan) and George H.W. Bush (my dad’s vice president) took strong issue with this, and by October of that year, Watt was gone.

It seems so quaint now, a dispute about whether rock-and-roll leads to drugs and chaos, as Watt claimed. Thirty-six years later, we are watching the man who occupies the Oval Office defy the Constitution, gaslight the country on a daily basis, call political opponents names that would get children banished to their rooms, attack the free press, and claim the Fourth of July for his own purposes as if the holiday were invented for him. My fear of fireworks is nothing compared with my fears for America.

Perhaps on the Fourth, amidst the fireworks and picnics and Trump’s display of Abrams tanks, we might want to reflect on the small group of men who, from their hearts and their deepest convictions, dreamed of a nation that would never fall prey to a tyrant.

Shira Lurie, "Why Democrats are wrong about Trump’s politicization of the Fourth of July", The Washington Post, 3 juillet 2019.

President Trump has decided that the Fourth of July belongs to him. In February, he announced on Twitter that he was rebranding the day as a “Salute to America” that would feature “an address by your favorite President, me !” (Perhaps a necessary clarification.) On June 5, D.C. officials confirmedthat Trump planned to speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, forcing the relocation of the traditional fireworks display to West Potomac Park.

In the hours after The Washington Post broke the news, Democrats pounced on Trump for politicizing the national holiday. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) denounced the president for “injecting partisan politics into the most nonpartisan sacred American holiday there is.” Three prominent congressional Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), wrote a letter to the president describing the Fourth as a “nonpartisan and apolitical” day. “It is, therefore, unfortunate that you are considering a conflicting event, which would create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at the public expense.”

But these claims are wrong. The Fourth has never been apolitical or nonpartisan. Americans have always used Independence Day to disguise political messaging in the cloak of patriotism. And often, these messages have contained the divisiveness and acrimony we have come to associate with Trump.

Politicization of the Fourth of July began even before the United States was a country. During the War of Independence, officials used the anniversary of Congress’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence as an opportunity to bolster anti-British sentiment. They rallied support for the Patriots’ cause with toasts, orations, militia drills and fireworks. In the postwar years, the day transformed into a civics lesson, with Americans extolling the benefits of republican government and, later, the Constitution.

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