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Time for another Independence Day-- from Britain

By Alexandra Petri

As we consider our nation's founding this year, it's time for a return to basics. We must embrace the principle on which our country was founded -- a principle that Sam Adams and George Washington alike held dear.

On this point, even the traditionalist Tea Partyers are missing the mark. Sure, much ink has been spilled over Tea Partyers and their reverence for America's founding principles, sometimes causing them to shout, "Hey! Stop spilling ink on me," or "Get away from me with that ink." But going back to our American roots doesn’t mean embracing small government or no government or Sarah Palin while wearing a weird hat. It means throwing our arms around the one principle that drove our Founding Fathers: a desire to make the British go away.

What have they ever given us? Sure, they gave us our language, but Americans came up with all the best words before they arrived, words such as “opossum” and “raccoon" and "Chappaquidick." And we got rid of them before they began to call trucks “lorries” or switch “r” and “e” willy-nilly and insert “u’s” into words at random intervals, usually near o’s.

Those Russian spies had at least the dignity to cultivate secret identities and pretend to be “Canadian” or “French Canadian.” But the British who are infiltrating our culture make no such concessions. They waltz into our country and simply assume we won't notice they're here. And, shockingly, they're usually right.

It’s time for these Brits to come out of the closet -- or, as the case might be, wardrobe. Look at our popular actors! Christian Bale, Hugh Laurie, Kim Cattrall -- all playing red, white and blue-blooded American things such as Batman, Greg House or cougars, a species native to the Western Hemisphere. And it goes the other way, too, with unsuspecting stars such as Madonna suddenly falling victim to rogue accents.

It's not only in our popular culture. Look at sports! They’re trying to replace our football with their “football.” But American football is as good as any football in the world. In fact, it’s better, because you don’t have to move your eyes as much.

If that weren't enough, they've even started to hijack our news. The oil spill was no accident. It was a British cry for attention. Has the magic really gone out of our special relationship? Before, all it took was dumping a few tons of tea into a harbor to get the other party's attention. Now look at the lengths they've had to go to! But finally they're where they hoped to be -- all over our news programs, looking chagrined but competent, speaking in those accents of theirs about "petroleum" and "crumpets," which I assume is British for "pelicans."

All of this must be a warning. If we don't reaffirm our founding ideals, who knows what will happen! We must rally around Old Glory (not the Union Jack), drink some coffee (not tea), and smile warmly at each other (not nod stiffly in passing) as we remember what America stands for, from generation to generation, through thick and thin: Not being British.

By Alexandra Petri  | July 5, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Posted by: talbertjo13 | July 5, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

This is supposed to be insightful and funny? Thank you, NO...on both counts.

Please lose Ms. Petri...

Posted by: secretaryofspite | July 5, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Is it April 1st already?

Posted by: senseofhumor | July 5, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

When Maureen Dowd isn't trivial and supercilious enough...

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | July 6, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Who is Alexandra Petri? Why was she allowed to write this immature drivel in the Washington Post?

Posted by: pilsener | July 6, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Who approves these columns? This one is about as inane as anything ever served up in the WaPo, and that is saying something. If it was an attempt at humor, it failed.

Posted by: Pearl77 | July 6, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Goodness, have you all lost your senses of humor so quickly?

SecretaryofSpite, you certainly live up to your name. Heaven forbid the funnies fall under your intense scrutiny.

I think Ms. Petri is about the funniest writer the Post has got, and I hope they hang on to her with both hands.

Posted by: ttwiggle | July 6, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Ditto. This article was neither funny nor interesting.

Posted by: danny7 | July 6, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

cherfan thinks this is amazing writing. Different from the self-important opinions mostly published. Readers need to lighten up and enjoy something once in a while.

Posted by: cherfan | July 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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