"The Zionist dream is shattered. It doesn't energize us as it once did. The American dream, too, is shattered; the 4th of July used to be such an important yontif [holy day] for me! What will fill these gaps?"
--R. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (via the VR)
With all due respect to Reb Zalman (and I mean that sincerely), I don't think the situation is that bleak. All people are flawed; nations are more so. But we don't give up on the people we love when they make mistakes, and I'm not giving up on the U.S. or Israel, either.
We've all heard Winston Churchill's line: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." I think that the Americans among us can probably agree about a few things. First, we're very fortunate to live in a country where a place like Elat Chayyim can flourish. Second, we're fortunate to be able to criticize this country openly, as Reb Zalman has. Finally, we ought to be grateful for the opportunity to change the our country's course every four years.
I'm sorry if I sound preachy. Right now, my goal is simply to make July 4th the yontif it ought to be. DH and I made patriotic cupcakes for Shabbat. Tomorrow we'll watch the fireworks. Little American rituals that don't seem to signify much, but I think they're important.
THERE'S MORE: This year is the 350th Anniversary of American Jewry. Stephen Whitfield reminds us how good we've had it.