Celebrating victories but not character

The celebration of American independence is supposed to be a unifying national ritual. But we are a country with profound differences over the meaning of nationhood itself.

People in more typical countries —such as Belgium, Japan or Russia—are attached primarily to a unique piece of earth, a unique language, a unique culture and (perhaps) a unique ethnicity. Their celebration of nationhood is the celebration of particularity. One may become a naturalized citizen of such a country . . .

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