On the nation’s birthday, hope

Thomas Jefferson is on my mind, as he is every July 4th (I wouldn’t be a good Wahoo otherwise, I suppose). I wonder whether today, looking out at the world, and at his own United States, he would still feel the same as he did in 1821, when he penned the following to John Adams:

The flames kindled on the Fourth of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.

And there’s another optimistic note that seems to speak directly to today’s nation:

The spirit of 1776 is not dead. It has only been slumbering. The body of the American people is substantially republican. But their virtuous feelings have been played on by some fact with more fiction; they have been the dupes of artful maneuvers, and made for a moment to be willing instruments in forging chains for themselves. But times and truth dissipated the delusion, and opened their eyes.