The Fourth of July. Straight ahead. Independence Day coming up. And can anyone remember a July 4 when Americans felt less free?

Like your stockbroker tells you when he wants to goose up your confidence in the market, “The fundamentals are there!” And that’s true. That means that no foreign enemy has won a five-state foothold on American territory. Our factories are not smoking shambles. Raw materials are moving, goods are being produced, services rendered, payments made and at least some hiring going on. But, as a people, we find ourselves at that moment that disillusioned husbands and wives never know how to handle.

It’s the steak with no sizzle, the sunset with clouds covering the color. You can belt out a “Hip!” and then another “Hip!” but you’ve had it before you get to the “Hooray!” We know, even without the dawn’s early light, that our flag is still there, but beholding it only makes a mockery of the feeling all of that used to elicit. We’ve got the words. But we’ve lost the melody.

If it were all a college course and you were asked to spell out the reason for this “malaise” (You were 34 years too early, Mr. Carter!) and you tried to get away with the one-word answer, “Obama,” the professor, in my view, would be obliged to give you a passing grade, but he’d be justified in being disappointed in your answer.

Just exactly what aspects, actions, failures or deeds of Obama robbed you of your birthright of joy at this Fourth of July? That’s where the dinner party gets interesting, particularly if leftists are represented. My own major sources of aggravation with the Obama administration are the frequent and major insults to our intelligence. Wouldn’t you think a friend were pretty stupid – and must think you’re pretty stupid! – if he borrowed your credit card and racked up major expenses way beyond what was agreed he should use the card for? Obviously, he knows you’re going to get an accounting detailing the time, items and amount of his attempted “theft.” Sure, there was a time when the Obama “Benghazi narrative” might have been believed, but that time was well before Obama was born, and for his whole White House full of “leaders” to suppose they could pull it off is more insulting than infuriating.

Next, I suppose, is forcing me to surrender my stubbornly held belief that “No American president can be anti-American!” I think, perhaps unwarrantedly, that I am as smart as my wife. Her calmly iterated and reiterated conviction, even before Obama’s first election, that Obama is a redistributionist (read “Marxist,” and if you’ve got guts read “communist”) originally made me wonder where she hid her collection of tin-foil hats. It took a while, but now I’m starting to wonder where I can get fitted for one.

Oddly enough, the major relief from Obama-pain is realizing what pain he is inflicting on the left. Who could stand to witness America’s do-nothing policy in Syria if it were Ronald Reagan’s non-activism responsible for the loss of over 100,000 lives?

Some of the dimness afflicting our celebration of July 4 attaches naturally and organically to the belief that certain of Obama’s major policies are plain old wrong. There is doubt whether Obamacare will make it to the starting gate, or whether it should. Never, ever have we witnessed a more arrogant, less competent, more leftward-lunging and, if you know history, more frightening administration.

Why should Americans, whose military and moral strength and resolve salvaged and saved the post-World War II world from easy communist takeover, have to mutter at uneasy social gatherings whether or not we’re being led into the same communism we saved the world from beginning in 1945?

Most infuriating is the lack of infuriation on the part of most Americans at this prospect. Columns are limited. Reasons for a blunted Fourth of July this year are not.

Still, still, still … what other country magnetizes more people from around the world to its shores? What other country ever amassed more power and abused it less, or amassed more wealth and distributed it more fairly?

The Catholic grandfather woke up on Christmas morning and walked the few blocks to his granddaughter’s house, where he found her squealingly enjoying her Christmas toys. Grandpa asked, “Did your friend Rachel next door get toys as nice as yours?” The little girl stopped cold.

“Oh, no, Grandpa,” she said. “Rachel’s not Christmas. Rachel’s Hanukkah. And Rachel’s not Easter. Rachel’s Passover.”

Then her little face sparkled as she said, “But, Grandpa, we’re both Fourth of July!”

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