To be “Born Again,” in Christian theology, means to be “renewed” in belief, i.e. to gain a newer and more committed faith in the meaning of Christianity. In Biblical terms, it expresses a rebirth “in spirit and water” to Christ and the path to Heaven. Born Again, thus, is a spiritual renewal and certainly not a new “birthday” in the original, physical sense of the term.
Everybody, no exceptions, has a “birthday,” the day when they entered the world. This cannot be changed, either to “conception” or any other biological phenomenon. Nor can a birthday be changed to either a sociological or psychological phenomenon, such as graduation, wedding, promotion, etc. It is biological and, thus, immutable to hypothetical or artificial interference.
Countries, plus other secular institutions, also have “birthdays,” or what they normally call “Independence Day.” There are 193 official countries in the United Nations, and each one has a day when it became one-unto-itself and, usually, the day it broke free from another nationality. Thus, Uganda’s is October 9, 1962; Argentina’s July 9, 1816; Morocco’s April 7, 1956. As with personal birthdays, these are sacred in national histories, are celebrated each year, and remain a testimonial to what the country and people stand for in popular culture and politics. There are no exceptions; every country has an independence or “national” day when it was, so-to-speak, “born.”
To distinguish, this is different from “born again,” or renewal, i.e. when the country was involved in a higher calling than before or when it was upon a new and dangerous adventure. In the United States, the birthday is July 4, 1776, but “born again” could be a number of events, the Bill of Rights, the Battle of New Orleans, the transcontinental railroad, the end of the Civil War, the victory in World War I, Woman’s suffrage, Pearl Harbor, the end of the Cold War, etc.
In America today, there is a movement, sponsored by the New York Times, to move the actual birthday back over 150 years to August 20, 1619. Why would a newspaper attempt to overturn 250 years of official recognition and change the day in which America first entered the political world? Answer: allegedly, that was the day in which the first slave ship entered the so-called “New World” of British America. The reason is not because the ship entered unexplored British territory but because the ship carried slaves from Africa and, thereby, represented what the New World had, in effect, become, i.e. a slave dominion and nothing else worth remembering.
Whether or not the date is, in fact, accurate is irrelevant, at least to the newspaper. The date, in reality, is symbolic since slave ships had been arriving into the New World since Columbus first landed in 1492. But the symbolism is critical since the factual basis pales against the actual purpose of the newspaper’s objective, i.e. to transform the nature and image of what the country represents both to itself and to outsiders.
Thus, the intent is a political overhaul as powerful and as lasting as the one enshrined in Jefferson’s Declaration of July 4, 1776. The newspaper’s spokeswoman, Nicole Hannah-Jones, has called the Declaration of Independence “nice words” against a reality she described as “a constant reminder of the lie of our origins.”
Project 1619 represents a direct challenge to the American national heritage as open and flagrant as Howard Zinn’s popular, quasi-Marxist history, A People’s History of the United States (1980). It also represents the new and growing phenomena of “identity” politics as typified with the several ideological “isms” that have become fashionable in “mainstream” media and national politics.
The intent is comprehensive and total, to make slavery and African Americans a centerpiece of historic American existence. Although they have represented around ten percent of the total populace overall, Ms. Jones entertains an encompassing vision of both slavery and Black history as both the original and lasting explanation of the nature and record of the country, from 1619 to 2020, and, of course, into the unknown.
By placing slavery as the main reason for independence in the first place, she intends to “reframe the country’s history” around that institution from, seemingly, everything that has occurred to that which has not. Her list includes today’s traffic patterns, intake of foods and sugar, health care, capitalism, socialism, insurance, manufacturing, banking, rum consumption, medicine, etc. in order to “force us to confront how slavery has impacted the country.”
As a newspaper and as a reporter, The Times and Ms. Jones have taken on the responsibilities that generations of historians have apparently overlooked. One can easily anticipate their response that all the others were “white” as symptomatic of the new ideologies that have filtered through the country and are now S.O.P. in polite (and not-so-polite) company.
One wonders how all the other “minorities” of the USA, which means everyone else, would react to this, shall we say, “one-sided” interpretation of life. With little to-do in the nation’s existence, we might just as well sit back and pay a subscription to The Times, not just to see what we did but to see what we are going to do tomorrow.
The Enemy Within
In the national history, Hitler and Stalin notwithstanding, the greatest challenges to American existence have come from within, especially the great Civil War.
Now we face a rising China, a “meddling” Russia, and Islamic terrorism as the chief threats from outside. At the same time, and right under our noses, is what J. Edgar Hoover once called The Enemy Within, who eats away at the vitals of national life and existence all under the pretense of “social justice,” “progress,” or some other idiom. But like both Jefferson Davis and ISIS, they remain open and free in both pretension and intent.
We may have been “born” on July 4, but we may soon become “born again” without even knowing it and by even assisting in our own demise.