July 4 is steadily becoming one of my favorite holidays. For two reasons, I think: (1) It is among the least consumer-focused of the major American holidays. Christmas mostly stresses me out these days. (2) It celebrates the American ideal, in a time when that ideal is sometimes hard to make out.
Today we’re having a bunch of my students (and other students that I work with) over for a fairly traditional Fourth of July cookout. I did this once or twice in graduate school, to show my international student friends what a real Fourth was like, and it’s a tradition I hope we’ll continue. I’m already plotting next year, and wondering if we might increase our guest list to include some colleagues and other friends in the community.
While maintaining my newfound political standoffishness…
The coming battle over the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice makes me pretty much want to hide under a table and come out after we have a new Congress and maybe even a new President. Sandra Day O’Connor was probably my favorite justice on the court. I didn’t agree with every vote that she made, of course, but her style of jurisprudence was the kind I’d like to see more often. The main complaint about her seems to be that she “sliced the salami” too thin. Which is to say that she often avoided sweeping judgements that would change the face of American law in one fell swoop, and instead preferred to consider each case on its merits, even when that required splitting hairs. And in my mind, if a question rises to the level of being heard by the SCOTUS, then some hair splitting is probably in order. Otherwise, the question would have been handled by some lesser court without controversy.
And let me add that all this hating on Gonzales by certain conservatives (mostly from the right wing religious groups) increases his stature in my eyes every day. Of course, that’s probably part of some grand Rovian plan… I’m still not saying that I like the guy; I’m just saying that if they hate him so much then he must not be all bad.