For almost 250 years, the United States of America has been a beacon of freedom for those around the world seeking a better life. The American dream has lifted millions out of poverty, and American benevolence has created a better world with new opportunities for people of every race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, and religion. There is a reason millions of foreigners travel to our borders every year to share in our American society. They do not risk their lives to get here because we are a racist nation; they do not leave everything they know behind because we are a hostile nation; they do not chase the American dream because we are an imperialistic or genocidal nation. They flock here because the USA is the greatest nation in the history of the world… the most compassionate, the most generous, the most noble, and of course, the freest. It is the land of the free, and the land of opportunity.
We are a nation that is far from perfect. There are stains on our national heritage for which we cannot be proud, but from which we should never hide. Ours is a history of unequal rights in which blacks were first enslaved and then segregated, suffering for centuries in a system that did not live up to our greatest expectations. Ours, however, is also a history of consistently working to overcome those egregious faults, determined to live up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence, and striving for the “more perfect union” the framers of our Constitution endeavored to achieve. French historian Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We should always be proud of our relentless pursuit of a more perfect union. Our nation, as all others, was built by, and has been led by, men and women… mere human beings. It is not possible for any nation of men and women to ever be perfect, to never falter, or to never fail to live up to its perfect ideals. It is possible, however, as de Tocqueville notes, to repair our faults, to always strive to be better. This is what it means to be American, and why despite her faults, the American republic is the greatest gift any people have ever given to the world.
The USA gives more in humanitarian relief than any other nation in the world, more than the next nine countries combined. We provide more foreign aid than any other nation in the world. The United States helps foreign governments and foreign citizens, and is the greatest force for freedom and democracy in a world that doesn’t always deserve it. Who is the first to respond to international suffering by offering assistance and often sacrificing its own blood and treasure? The USA, that’s who. President Ronald Reagan once called the United States, “the last best hope of man on Earth.” When the world was teetering on the precipice of “a thousand years of darkness” under Nazi rule, it was the United States that Western civilization turned to in its time of desperation. It was the United States that sacrificed the blood, sweat, and toil of its sons and daughters in a foreign war to ensure that Nazi tyranny would not rule over Europe. It was “in God's good time,” according to Winston Churchill, that America, “with all its power and might,” came “forth to the rescue and the liberation” of Europe. It was the United States, decades later, that stood up to communism, brought the Soviet Union to its knees, and freed hundreds of millions of eastern Europeans from totalitarian oppression behind the “iron curtain.” That is our true history; that is the American legacy. Why should we, the people, not be proud of who we are and all the good we have done?
On Independence Day, which is July 4th, despite revisionist efforts to nullify our heritage and destroy our national pride, we celebrate everything about the country we love. We celebrate our founding fathers, past generations, American achievements, and American exceptionalism. We celebrate the principles and values that make the United States the “Shining city on a hill.” The American flag is a central part of that celebration, as it stands for everything that has made our nation great in the past, in the present, and will continue into the future. The flag stands for liberty. It stands for freedom. It stands for opportunity. It stands for justice. It stands for fighting for equality. It stands for progress. Those who defile our flag, turn their back on it, or in any way disrespect it, are turning their back on all the progress we have made, all the good we have done, and all that we as a people and as a nation, stand for. Anti-American agitator, Colin Kaepernick, once declared, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Yet we do not see Kaepernick or any of his woke comrades leaving the United States for a better life elsewhere. Why not?
Where do black people have more opportunity than in the United States of America? If the United States is so racist and oppressive when dealing with the black community, then why are there millions of black immigrants in the United States, a number that has steadily increased over the past four decades? According to Pew Research, black immigrants from Africa are more likely to earn a college degree than American citizens… is that oppression or opportunity? Black immigrants do not come to the United States to be oppressed, Mr. Kaepernick; they come to be freed… freed to determine their own lot in life, freed to pursue seemingly endless opportunity, freed to chase the American dream. The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, “In the eyes of the government we are just one race here. It is American.” Black or brown or white… we are all American. If the socialist counterrevolutionaries would stop dividing Americans by skin color and appreciate the nation that has given them the very freedom to disparage it, then we could certainly reach that more perfect union for which we have been striving for over two centuries.
We can focus on the negatives of our past – slavery, Native American removal, segregation, gender inequality – or we can focus on the positives while working to repair our previous faults. Slavery was abolished, segregation was outlawed… we have continued to overcome the Democrat party policies of the past that oppressed and exploited minorities. A patriotic American can acknowledge our faults while flowing with pride for the progress we have made. Being American means being able to overcome. It means perseverance in the face of hardship. It means being compassionate, magnanimous, and charitable. The United States of America has always been an exceptional nation, and Americans have always been an exceptional people. We should not hide from that, we should not deny it; we should accept our exceptionalism, accept the tremendous responsibility we have in the world, and continue our tradition of making the world freer and fairer.
Happy birthday, USA! Thank you for all the opportunities you have provided, for all the good you have done around the world, and for being the most caring, generous, and fair nation in history. Thank you for extending individual liberty, for defending democracy, and for raising the standard of living for all humanity. The United States is a nation with an amazing, if not perfect, history, a glorious national heritage, and a lasting international legacy. It is hard to imagine how any man, woman, or child could not be proud to be an American; it is difficult to fathom how any individual fortunate enough to call America home could not love his or her country. However, it is the greatness of our nation that allows anti-American activists, celebrities, politicians, and elected officials to denigrate its flag, disparage its history, and denounce its actions. Unlike the brutally oppressive states of communist rule, the United States does not imprison its citizens and restrict their movement. We have open doors to those from beyond our borders who yearn for freedom. At the same time, those doors are also open for those who despise our country to leave. In the words of American patriot, Lee Greenwood,
“…And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me,
And I'd gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA!”