The Democratic National Convention would like you to know – that is until they deleted the tweet – that hosting our nation’s celebratory 4th of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore is in fact “a rally glorifying white supremacy.” They appeared to be quite serious until they wisely gave it a second thought.
It makes one wonder if any celebration of the United States and its ideals is safe from such accusations. Can we even use the word “patriot” anymore? Is America worth celebrating? Remarkably, that seems to be in question this year for some folks.
This should encourage us to reflect though. Is everything in the American story worthy of celebration? Of course not. We don’t celebrate America because she’s perfect. We celebrate our nation because she’s good and provides anyone’s political and economic best hope of a better life.
Our nation has its great sins of terrible injustice, including those of race. But we must also recognize something else at the same time. We know the injustices toward African- and Native-Americans are national transgressions precisely because they violated our highest ideals of justice and equality for all. As such, America also has its remarkably great virtues. Matchless virtues that have never been realized elsewhere in human history. America has lifted more people to a dramatically better life, people of all races and colors, Americans or not, than any other nation, now or ever. This is an indisputable and amply demonstrable fact.
And the fact that we believe we can still do better at lifting all people to a better life is a uniquely American virtue. Ours is a nation that not only welcomes, but encourages, and guarantees the rights of all citizens to protest, advocate, and work for a better tomorrow. If anything is American, it is this.
Consider the border crisis, which either seems to have just gone away or the media got bored and moved on? The poor and oppressed from other nations, seeking a better life, know what the United States stands for and offers them. They know, that despite our problems, America provides protection for the oppressed. It offers opportunity and a means to build a better life for themselves and their children. So much so that millions have been risking their very lives for centuries to reach our shores and become citizens. They continue to do so today with the deepest enthusiasm in unprecedented numbers.
They know that ours is a nation whose momentum is toward improving lives and fortunes, doing what we can to make everyone’s tomorrow better than their yesterday. Of course, we have a way to go on so many fronts, but the desire, opportunity and drive to do so is precisely what America is about and what she stands for. The United States of America welcomes all, with a world-class immigration service, who want to participate in and contribute to this dream of equality for all toward the end of achieving Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
And this is certainly worth celebrating and protecting. Let us do so with thankfulness and boundless resolve to continue working toward the American ideal. Untold billions are depending on us.