If you are reading this, congratulations on surviving the latest Independence Day festivities, which our society somewhat arbitrarily celebrates on 4 July. Independence Day 2026 will mark the nation’s 250th ‘birthday’, but Americans that day may not party like it’s 1999.
What will America’s quarter millennial/semiquincentennial look like? I vaguely recall the nation’s celebration of its 200th birthday in 1976: lots of fireworks, ‘tall ships, and bicentennial histories, some patriotic fluff and some serious stuff, and biographies, many hagiographic but others critical. (If you missed the party, check out these iconic photographs.)
In 1976, the country still bore the emotional and economic scars of multiple political assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK), race riots/urban uprisings, long and unpopular ‘war’, police state violence, domestic terrorism, a pandemic, a crime wave, high inflation, high levels of political corruption, outrageous but ultimately popular government policy overreach, and global climate change.
America is pretty much in the same boat now, sans the assassinations and the tall ships. It survived then and will do it again, one might conclude. Ron DeSantis (Ronald Reagan), the collapse of the CCP (USSR) and artificial intelligence (Internet) will bring the return of primary budget surpluses and an ebullient stock market. White House interns beware!