Seven Reasons to Wave the Flag this Week
American patriotic holiday celebrations sometimes make me cringe just a little. I am not sure of the purpose of declaring one’s country the “Greatest Nation on Earth.” Why can’t we celebrate the greatness of all nations, and of all cultures, along with our own?
I have pride in my country, just as I am sure most people do. When I say “most people” I mean that people of every country have pride in their country.
I also know that friendly competition is healthy. In sports and in the marketplace vying with competitors creates excellence.
I know, too, that different nations and different cultures have ideals that are different than ours, and in some cases those ideals could be mutually exclusive. That’s why I am grateful for our military in which many of my family members have proudly served.
But I think it is time that we started to see ourselves as citizens of a planet, in addition to being citizens of a country. Instead of asking a Higher Power to bless the USA, why not ask that Higher Power to bless the whole planet?
I would like to see a bit less competition and a bit more cooperation around the globe, at least at the times and in the places where that is possible.
At the same time, there are some things that make the United States of America unique in the world. Here are seven great things about the United States to celebrate on this July Fourth.
- When suspected of a crime, we are innocent until proven guilty. To Americans this is just common sense. But the presumption of innocence in our system of jurisprudence is fairly unique on the planet, and truly a source of my national pride.
- We do not have a national religion. I know there are some Americans who are not proud of that fact, but it is one of the founding principles of the United States. And it is a good principle because with it come true religious freedom. The ability to worship how one wants, and if one wants, is a priceless freedom that many world citizens do not enjoy.
- Our land is vast, beautiful, and rich in biodiversity and resources. Yes, I wish we honored our land a bit better, but we are working on that. It is hard not to see our oceans, our mountains, our flora and fauna and not feel a sense of pride and gratitude.
- Our culture is defined by its diversity. As much as we struggle with issues of race and diversity, we are unique in that we are all products of the melting pot. In many countries the citizenry is comprised almost entirely of one race and culture. To be an American is to celebrate a richness of foods, languages and histories while at the same time sharing a singular commonality. We trace our roots and heritage to all parts of the globe, and yet we are all American.
- We have freedom of speech. Again, this is something that is easy to take for granted. We grew up saying “It’s a free country” as a smart retort to one another. But not every country’s citizens can say that. In fact, in some countries one can be jailed for something one says. Think about that.
- The American “can-do” attitude really exists. American ingenuity is real and unique. It’s part of our culture. We have a sense that if we try hard enough and think outside the box we can achieve whatever we want. It is in our culture to believe that anything is possible. This belief that is instilled in each of us is perhaps the greatest American value of all.
- Our Constitution is a work of art. Checks and balances, the Bill of Rights, and the foresight to protect us from inevitable human nature – our Constitution contains all that and more. The brilliance of our Founding Fathers (though they were certainly products of their time) cannot be understated.
With failed policies, a faltering economy and divided philosophies, many Americans are feeling disappointed, disillusioned and disenfranchised this Independence Day. But there are still a lot of great reasons to wave the flag, and even more reasons to have faith in a great future for our great nation.