Wednesday, August 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Three family activities for the Fourth of July

crisp column sig

By
From page A11 | July 02, 2014 |

Happy Fourth of July! The Fourth is always a grand day to consider what a remarkable nation we live in. I’m not fond of the language of “American Exceptionalism,” the idea that our nation is a “shining city on a hill,” chosen by God for some profound spiritual purpose. After He chose the Jews, millennia ago, I suspect that He got out of the business of picking winners and losers.  And, besides, even if He did pick us, it’s tacky to talk about it too much.

Still, that shouldn’t stop us from using the Fourth to celebrate some of the ways in which we’ve made ourselves exceptional.  Here are some suggestions for family activities for the Fourth: One: Burn a flag in your backyard.  Actually, don’t.  But spend a few minutes thinking about the remarkable fact that our nation places higher value on our freedoms than on the symbols that represent them.

Instead of burning the flag, take an hour on the Fourth to ponder the oral argument that took place before the Supreme Court on March 21, 1989, in Texas v. Gregory Lee Johnson.

Johnson was an American communist who burned a flag at a political protest in Dallas in 1984. He was charged with “desecration of a venerated object” and sentenced to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

The case reached the Supreme Court. The oral argument in Texas v. Johnson is an impressive tribute to the care and precision that the justices, liberal and conservative, apply to the cases before them in the effort to discern what’s right. Does desecration decrease or enhance a flag’s symbolic value? What if it’s a state flag? A picture of a flag? What if the flag’s stolen? Eventually the court ruled that flag-burning is political speech, and that Johnson’s unseemly actions were protected by the First Amendment. Ironically, we have the right to desecrate one of the primary symbols of our rights.

This isn’t the case everywhere. In France and Turkey a flag desecrater can be sent to prison for six months and in Germany for up to five years. I like our system better. What a constitution!

Two: Here’s another activity for the Fourth: Locate your voter’s registration card, resolve to vote in November, and let your kids know that’s what you plan to do. That card is the key to our democracy. Of course, it makes you liable for jury duty, but that’s another American experience that should be prized more than dreaded.

The only time I served on a jury was a testament to our exceptional system. A kid had beaten up his girlfriend after both of them had had too much to drink. The crime isn’t trivial, but it happens thousands of times every day across the world. It’s an exceptional society that is willing to expend the resources of three lawyers, a judge, a bailiff, a court reporter, a police officer, a crime scene investigator, a translator, jury room staff, various clerks and secretaries, and two full days in the lives of six ordinary citizens to ensure justice in connection with a half-hour incident that’s more than a year old. Only in America? Not quite, maybe, but it’s worth celebrating.

Finally: The Fourth is a good day to confirm our commitment to the civilizing social contract that makes us a nation. For example, if you take your family for a drive on the Fourth, consider careful observance of the speed limit, and don’t drink any adult beverages en route. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Fourth of July weekend is the deadliest of the year, worse than New Year’s Eve, and ordinarily alcohol is involved in 50 percent of the fatal crashes.

It will be healthy for our kids to see all of us honoring our national covenant in the interest of public safety.

In fact, in many ways, we are an exceptional nation.  Celebrate it!

John M. Crisp, an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune, teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Readers may send him email at jcrisp@delmar.edu.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vacaville school board candidates sound off during forum

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Memorial flight honors beloved Gordon Valley man

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Recology goes pink to trash cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Curtola park-and-ride bill goes to governor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
City reaches milestone for train station project

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans advises Highway 12 delays likely

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

Library’s teen board to meet next week

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
South Solano Dems schedule candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Man convicted of failing to register as sex offender

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
DUI checkpoint nets arrests in Vacaville

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
 
 
Geiger sworn in as Fairfield planning commissioner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Faith in Action puts out call for volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Love, a legend, come to theaters

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Suisun City police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

.

US / World

How can authorities restore order in Ferguson?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 23 Comments | Gallery

 
Holder brings his civil rights push to Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

Strong DOJ response to Ferguson seeks truth, calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
As protests rage, Obama struggles to find his role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Ferguson pledges outreach efforts after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Prison company pays $8 million in back wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Some evacuees of Yosemite-area fire can go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Officials say Lake Tahoe imperiled by wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Committee approves higher pension calculations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Veteran rock climber killed in fall in Yosemite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

US officials: Video shows American’s beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 6 Comments

NY took quick precautions after in-custody death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tens of thousands march on Pakistan’s parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Serve and protect? Certainly not

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 23 Comments

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Government trying to steal rights

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 23 Comments

No getting away from corruption in state government

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Editorial cartoons for Aug. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Our daughter says she hates her mother and refuses to talk to us

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
10 Things: 10 fresh ways to dress corn on the cob

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Think beyond the slice with refreshing watermelon

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson set for DC Comics film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Don Pardo, iconic TV announcer, dies at 96

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Wife to bury Kasem in Norway, cites heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Rancho Solano women’s team vying for spot in nationals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers sign defensive lineman Dorsey to extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers’ Dawson eager to get back out kicking after misses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ohio State: Injured QB Miller done for the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Past US Open champs Djokovic, Federer seeded 1-2 in U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Joe Gibbs Racing hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis knows hoops, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders still waiting for Hayden to get healthy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

As Durant steps back, US team is moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement to avert lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Islanders announce sale of minority stake of club

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Competition heats up for Tesla’s gigafactory

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s to sell packaged coffee nationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Consumer prices edge up 0.1 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks rise as US home construction rebounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US home construction jumps 15.7 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

June Canaris-Heath

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A4

 
Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Horace James Sam

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joseph ‘Joey’ Kenneth Meyers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Defrances Jean Freeman-Jefferson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Eddie Lee Staten

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5