While most of you are watching fireworks on Monday night, I’ll be on a plane en route from Beijing to Detroit. This is the first time in my life I will be abroad for the Fourth of July and, yes, it feels very strange. But spending the last two weeks overseas has had the same effect it always does: It’s made me that much more appreciative of the United States. And so, somewhere over Russia or maybe the very northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, I’ll do what I always do on the Fourth: I’ll read an excerpt of the Declaration of Independence with my kids -- yes, I really do that -- although maybe this time I’ll throw in a discussion about the salient differences between liberalism and Maoism.

Anyhow, Happy birthday to America. Enjoy the festivities. I’ll be back next week.