Last week saw the observance of the quintessential American holiday — our Independence Day. From coast to coast Americans celebrated with their usual vigor the greatness that is the United States. Sadly, much of that patriotism was not based on true Americanism. Instead, for a majority of our citizens, the vision of what America has been, is, and will be is but a mutation of what our nation is supposed to be about.

Those on the conventional right incessantly lament the ignorance of history from which younger generations of Americans suffer. While it is true that Americans appear to know frighteningly little about their country’s past, perhaps this has something to do with the abuse to which the concept of history has been subjected.    

Vegetable gardens may be popping on abandoned land in Detroit, Michigan, but nearby Oak Park apparently likes broccoli as much as does George H.W. Bush. At least, that is, when it’s growing in a homeowner’s front yard.

No one is more of a master of political talking points than President Barack Obama. Remember "shovel-ready projects"? These were construction projects where the shovels were supposed to start digging the moment the government gave them the "stimulus" money.

Two years later, Obama can joke about the fact that the shovels were not as ready as he thought. In reality, the shovels were never ready. It can take forever to get all the environmental approvals to build anything in today's political and legal climate.

It is hard to understand politics if you are hung up on reality. Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.

Not only among politicians, but also among much of the media, and even among some of the public, the quest is not for truth about reality but for talking points that fit a vision or advance an agenda. Some seem to see it as a personal contest about who is best at fencing with words.