I can’t help noticing on the Fourth what celebratory conventions rule at a major metropolitan daily. Let’s see: In the Style section, there was a story on George Washington as a slaveholder, as discovered by archeologists (“Plain as Dirt: History without Gimmickry”). On the editorial page, Columbia University law prof writes about the Declaration of Independence (“A Declaration the President Ignores”). (“The tragedy of the post-Sept. 11 American assault on the laws of war is that it seems to have been not only shameful but self-defeating”). For Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter, the Fourth is about loving America warts and all. The warts are big as warthogs. (“The war that ended slavery, it turned out, did not end oppression.) That’s about as good as it gets.

I don’t want to lie about history-Washington did own slaves-but on the Fourth I want to remember why this country is great. Powerline has one of the best meditations I saw today. It quotes from and comments on a chapter entitled “Fourth of July” in John McCain’s book “Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir.” It deals with an event while McCain was a prisoner of war.