As Americans celebrated the Fourth of July, angry activists and celebrities took to Twitter with one repeated message: “#F*** the Fourth.” In order to allow the expletive to trend on Twitter, activists replaced the “u” with a “v.” Conservatives responded by mocking the trend, which perversely increased the number of tweets about it, causing it to trend further.
Even so, the trend started as quite legitimate.
“NOVEMBER 3RD…. IS THE NEW INDEPENDENCE DAY!” tweeted actor Kirk Acevedo with the hashtags “F*** the Fourth” and “November is Coming.” Leftists like Acevedo look to November 3, the General Election, as the date presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will defeat President Donald Trump.
Tak show host Chip Franklin tweeted, “There’s no reason to celebrate today,” with the hashtags “F*** the Fourth” and “End the Nightmare” of Trump.
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R&B singer/songwriter Jessie Woo shared a meme attacking the Declaration of Independence. “Oh wait… we didn’t mean y’all,” the meme reads, quoting “Wypipo” (white people) on July 4, 1776. Woo shared the meme with the words “Happy Systemic Racism Day” and the hashtag “F*** the Fourth.”
While the Declaration of Independence promised to uphold the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of all men, America shamefully preserved the institution of race-based slavery. But the logic of the Declaration overrode the injustice. The United States finally outlawed slavery in the Thirteenth Amendment after the Civil War, fulfilling more of that promise. While America is a work in progress, this extension of freedom and justice is an outworking of the Declaration of Independence, not a rejection of it. Rejecting the foundation will only erode the freedom and justice all Americans want to claim.
Democratic socialist podcaster Ryan Knight tweeted, “140 million Americans are poor or low-income. 87 million Americans are underinsured or uninsured. 40 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic while billionaires got $565 billion richer. There is NOTHING to celebrate today. America is a failed state,” with the hashtag “F*** the Fourth.” His message received 5,000 “retweets” from some of his 374,000 followers.
Some conservatives put the message in perspective.
“Imagine being so privileged to live in so great a country, where even the poorest are better off than 80% of the entire world and be so ignorant to tweet [F*** the Fourth],” tweeted entrepreneur Carol Roth. “Are there places to improve, things to change? Of course, but only a child doesn’t recognize all they do have.”
Americans enjoy tremendous blessings of liberty and prosperity. While the United States could use reform on a great many issues, it is a force for good in the world, and the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate.
Yet the move to condemn the Fourth of July falls in line with the destructive riots spreading across America, the cancel culture, and the toppling of statues — even statues of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and the 54th Massachusetts regiment of black Union volunteers. The riots, launched in the name of “Black Lives Matter,” have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments.
When the rioters toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on it, echoing The New York Times‘s “1619 Project,” which aims to redefine American history by making the arrival of the first slaves in 1619 the focal point, rather than the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The 1619 Project justifies scrapping the entire American project — which has bolstered freedom and prosperity across the globe — in the name of racial justice.
This nefarious anti-American narrative explains the horrifying “F*** the Fourth” vitriol on the Fourth of July. On Saturday, President Donald Trump eviscerated this narrative in a powerful defense of America’s heroes. Both CNN and The New York Times ran articles condemning his speech as an attack in the “culture war.” Perhaps the Times understands Trump’s patriotic defense of America and of the Fourth of July undermines its central project.
As “F*** the Fourth” trended on Twitter, many responded by predicting a landslide victory for President Donald Trump. It seems likely the “1619 Riots” will inspire a powerful backlash. Will that backlash propel Trump to re-election in November? Stranger things have happened.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.