Proud to be an American |

Proud to be an American

Be proud this Independence Day.

I often find when the subject of patriotism comes up in conversation, it is met with eye rolls and belly aches. It is almost as though expression of patriotism it has become a social faux pas.

Before forming an opinion on my nation, please be informed. A rudimentary reading of history will show that there have always been the rich and there have always been the poor. Whether you like it or not, natural law will take precedent in this regard over the highest ideals.

We manipulate world politics to our benefit because we can. And why shouldn’t we? This nation was created by the rejects of other nations. We are here because we, or our ancestors, sought a better life free from religious, economic and social persecution. People come the United States to raise their children in peace, where they are free to think as they choose.

I urge bandwagon U.S. critics to go live in a nation where a monarch or dictator tarnishes the currency. In this so-called enlightened present time it may not seem so grievous because in many monarchies the role of the king or queen is reduced to a figurehead. Still the acceptance of a monarch as “legitimate” is an affront to humanity.

Regrettably birth rights in the United States can be created through the passage of wealth or influence, but that pales at the insistence that an entire society revere a one person above all others because of blood. We are Americans, a free people, and we bow to no one. If you are revered, you earned it.

In the years following the Revolutionary War the British waited on their side of the Atlantic for their former colonies to disintegrate into anarchy so they could come back and re-establish control. Political thinkers of the post-revolutionary period saw the fledgling United States as an experiment in democracy, a method of government that many perceived as mob rule. Instead failing, we rose to become the greatest nation on Earth.

We are a nation built on lessons of the past, combining principals of the French Enlightenment and the governmental structure of the Roman Republic. The rhetoric of our nation states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Rhetoric is only rhetoric unless we make it true. We have been slave holders, and we drove American Indians off their lands forcing them onto reservations. Women were not allowed to vote until the early 20th century. These are only a few of the injustices our nation has fostered in the past, but through growth and struggle we have changed.

While I was never personally responsible for any of these sad chapters in our history, I take accountability as an American, not for shame, but rather to ensure such injustices never happen again and to rectify those that still persist.

Our nation is still plagued with the scourge of bigotry. Racists, homophobes, sexists and social elitists are ignorant, simple minds, who lack the courage to look beyond themselves and really see the strength and beauty of diversity. They are the same who would close the doors of immigration, shutting off our nation’s greatest resource.

Different peoples bring different points of view. In America you can speak your mind, and I assert any voice can be heard if it speaks loud enough. These points of view come for good and for bad, but hearing all fortifies the conviction in our beliefs or shows us the error of our ways.

The only point of view I denounce is that which seeks to close minds to new ways of thought. It is the coward who hides behind only what they know.

This Independence Day let the fireworks that paint the sky be a reminder of the beauty and diversity that make up our nation. Remember the goal, work toward it and we can achieve the dream that is America.

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