US urged to have more self-reflection as shadows lingers over Independence Day
Published: Jul 05, 2023 10:50 PM
Trapped. Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Trapped. Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

With parades, fireworks and a White House Barbecue, the US celebrated its Independence Day holiday on Tuesday. However, beneath the glamorous events which are supposed to be filled with patriotism and joy, shadows like a spate of mass shootings, and economic recession and partisan rivalry still linger.

Since its independence in 1776, the US today has lost vitality from its early days, and in the case of the deteriorating domestic problems, Independence Day should become a "day of reflection" for Washington, Chinese experts said on Wednesday. 

According to the VOA, the scheduled celebrative events included US President Joe Biden's speech, fireworks, an annual Independence Day concert as well as the traditional Independence Day parade down Constitution Avenue. But ahead of the holiday, 10 people were killed and 38 wounded in mass shootings so far this week in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Fort Worth, according to media reports. 

Citing the Gun Violence Archive, the BBC reported that in each of the last three years, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the US, almost twice a day on average. As of May 2023, there have been more than 200 mass shootings across the US.

On Independence Day 2022, seven people were killed during the Highland Park mass shooting in Illinois, during a July 4 parade. "This day of patriotic pride became a scene of pain and tragedy," Biden said in a statement to remember the event on Tuesday. 

Besides the shadow of gun violence, The Washington Post described the US as being "in a funk," with "a tide of worry about a lack of civic cohesion, intense partisanship and, to some, a sense of hopelessness," one day ahead of the US Independence Day holiday.

According to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll ahead of Independence Day, 7 out of 10 Americans agree with the statement that American democracy is "imperiled." Polls also show there is less excitement about the 2024 presidential election which would tear the nation further apart. 

Against a backdrop of inflation, recession and rising unemployment, an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll last week shows that only 34 percent of Americans approve of Biden administration's economic leadership, or "Bidenomics" as it is touted. 

"The US has lost the vitality of its early days as a nation and lost its role as an example and inspiration to the peoples of the world who are suffering from colonial oppression. On the contrary, the US is languid, stagnant and corrupt, and has become a force that hinders the trend of global progress and undermines globalization and cooperation among countries," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo in the US… Independence Day should be a "day of reflection," which may be more helpful to the US, Li said. 

According to a new Gallup poll released on Monday, confidence in the US government has reached an all-time low of 31 percent. In 2020, 46 percent of US adults expressed faith in their government. Another Gallup poll found that just 39 percent of US adults say they are "extremely proud" to be an American, a sharp decline comparing with the 55 percent in 2001. 

Sun Chenghao, a research fellow from the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the US' disease exposes traumatic problems that involve the deep-seated political system, constitution and power structure of the US. 

These problems cannot be fundamentally resolved in the short term, nor can they be changed by changing whoever is in power, Sun noted. 

"The 'US' diseases,' such as racial problems and gun problems, are deeply rooted in its soil," Li said, "and there is still a lack of calm observation and sober reflection on its own policies and domestic social problems in the US."

It will not be surprising if the US' social problems worsen further by next year's Independence Day, Li said.