Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Why I'm Proud To Be American
What a damned fine quote. This quote is routinely attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
It's a shame he never said it.
Today marks the 230th Birthday of the United States of America.
I am proud to be American, and I'll tell you why.
This year may not mark our finest moment, but it's a time for celebration, nonetheless. As each of us hits a landmark birthday, and we grow a bit older, there is also a certain amount of reflection and introspection that typically, and should, take place. Perhaps this year more than ever.
Ninety-one countries in our World exist in which the citizens live in freedom. That's out of a total of 196 countries around the World. Another sixty-four of these countries live with citizens who share at least partial freedoms, either politically or with regard to civil liberties.
Ninety-one countries whose citizens all live free. That's 46% of the world's countries.
The United States does not stand alone as the sole proprietor of free citizens - of those who live in freedom.
Almost half the countries in the World share freedom - our greatest treasure. And yet, if we are to stand before the World as a beacon and example, isn't it necessary to be more than simply free?
It takes more than simply being representatives of freedom to be American.
There is a distinction to be made between the pride in being an American, and being proud of the most recent actions of the United States of America.
I will always love my brother. I am not at all in agreement with many of the decisions that he has made in his lifetime, but I coninute to love him.
I will defend the IDEAL of America with my last dying breath. But I will also rise up against the injustices that I see taking place within this current Administration, or any other Administration, for that matter.
There IS a distinction. And just for the record, Jefferson DID state:
(Jefferson discussing the fight over the establishment of one form of Christianity in the U.S. to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800. Peterson, Merrill, ed. Jefferson: Writings. New York: Literary Classics of the U.S.: Distributed to the trade in the U.S. and Canada by the Viking Press, c1984, p. 1082.)
"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
The United States of America was established 230 years ago today. But AMERICA is something that came later. It's something that evolved over time. It was born out of the struggle of immigrants coming to America to find a better life. Early immigrants shaped our buildings and our great cities, but they also tested the strength of our form of government and helped to shape our ideals. Immigrants have always been and will always be the cornerstone for a continually evolving America.
AMERICA was born out of the bloodshed of the Civil War. For the tragedy that was a country fighting against itself, we became a stronger, better, more unified nation as a result.
AMERICA evolved out of the constant dissent that marked the voices of those who gave rise to the Civil Rights movement. For every voice in the minority who had the courage to tell the majority that they were wrong, America grew.
The courage to raise a voice against the majority is posssibly the singular most powerful element... the singular catalyst that continually forces AMERICA to grow and evolve. A single voice raised against the establishment. Joined by others. Becoming a force ultimately to powerful to ignore. Change occurs. Growth. Evolution.
This is the IDEAL AMERICA of which I am proud to be a part.
Here's something else that Thomas Jefferson DID say:
"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."(Jefferson to James Madison, January 30, 1787. Boyd, Julian P., ed. Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 11. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955, p. 93.)
We are currently in another period of rebellion. Growth. Evolution.
There are those in our country who espouse a "America - Love It Or Leave It" isolationist mantra, while at the same time allegedly standing proudly as a provider of freedom to the world.
There are those in our country who turn a blind eye to injustices done both here at home and around the world, while purporting to be the example that the World should follow.
At a time where we face immense questions about our country, our security and our world, there are those who work feverishly to silence all debate, at a time when every individual voice should be heard.
In the same way that our civil rights movement grew from a single voice rising against the majority view of those living in the United States, so goes the current debate for the future of AMERICA. That single voice has been heard. It has grown. It no longer represents the minority opinion. It will not be ignored.
I may not always support the actions of an Administration of the United States. But I will always stand behind the IDEALS of America.
Tags: United States, America, USA, Americans, 4th of July, July 4th, patriotism, dissent
Posted by FleshPresser at 12:58 AM /
Erin posted at 3:49 AM
Lovely, lovely post. So true. I'm with you - the ideals are what matter, and we seem to be forgetting that as a nation. At least the Supreme Court sent the administration a reminder of that this week.
Kitten posted at 6:41 PM
AMEN and thank you for yet another wonderful post! Happy 4th to you all!
marie b. posted at 2:03 PM
posted at 3:00 PM
Rock, on Tim!
Opinionnation posted at 7:21 PM
It sounds like one long and overly dramatic attempt to excuse, in your own mind, the misguided hatred you have for the current administration and the war in Iraq.
…It’s like you’re trying to mold your vial discontent in a way to make it acceptable; when in reality it's just plain hatred...
Speaking in moral vagaries to disguise your inherent anti-Americanism which was brought about by an upbringing of liberal philosophies that hold virtually no place in the real world.
But it was an interesting read.
FleshPresser posted at 9:26 PM
Thanks to all for your compliments. It was heartfelt, and something I feel VERY strongly about, and as such, your comments are incredibly appreciated.
As for you, OpinionNation, it appears that you are in the minority - but that's OK... your party will be in the minority come November, as well.
You speak of "misguided hatred" and... ahem... "vial" (sic)discontent... that's a hell of a statement coming form someone who runs a blind-sighted blog that espouses nothing but blatent lies, propaganda and hatred for anyone who diverts even slightly from your opinion.
In terms of "vagaries" it would appear that YOU are the one speaking in vagaries. You accuse me of hatred without knowing a damned thing about me, and speak in wandering disdain, as you have no true argument.
It's funny... when the first settlers left Europe to seek a better form of government, they left behind quite a few people who actually enjoyed living in a monarchy - they had no problem with the current state of government. I equate you entirely with those individuals.
It's OK.. I pity you. It must be difficult to continue to be an Apologist for this Administration over and over again. Lord only knows how your head is going to pop like a berry when the elections fall in favor of the Democrats come November. If you're angry now, when Republicans actually "control" everything (and I use that word in the kindest way possible), I can't imagine how pissed you'll be when you actually realize that you're in the minority.
Dawn Benko posted at 10:49 PM
I really didn't get the impression from your post that you really are proud to be an American. Were you being facetious?
FleshPresser posted at 11:04 PM
Dawn - I know that such phrases as "I am proud to be American...," "I will defend the IDEAL of America with my last dying breath...," and "This is the IDEAL AMERICA of which I am proud to be a part..." is all pretty ambiguous, so I'll spell it out.
I was not being facetious. I truly AM proud to be American.
Do I believe we have problems that need to be solved? Absolutely.
Does that make me any less patriotic because I desperately want to see this country restored to its former greatness, and to see it's place in the world as a true leader regained? Absolutely not.
Sorry that wasn't clear to you. I think others got that point pretty clearly, but I apologize if I was ambiguous.
Jon posted at 11:28 PM
Our country is glorious as she is, so there is no need to restore her to her former glory. It is you on the left that are out of touch. The only thing that will change come November is there will be a larger majority for the Republicans and we will have less Democrats to worry about. I am glad to hear you are proud to be an American as much you should be.
FleshPresser posted at 11:44 PM
Jon - I knew it was only a matter of time before you showed up... did you all come in together or what??
Pride in one's country is nothing to be ashamed of... it's a truly great trait.
Blind faith, however, is quite another. It's akin to looking at your alcoholic father and saying "yup.. he's perfect... I wouldn't change a thing."
You would have love for your father - certainly. But turning your back on his problems and not offering help only exacerbates the problem.
We have gone from a United States that was the envy of the world to a United States that the rest of the world spits on... and in the incredibly small world that we live in, we cannot afford to simply ignore that fact, regardless of how proud we are of all of the great things that this country represents.
Such arrogance is foolish.
As to your claim that there will actually be MORE Republicans in office come fall (laughing hysterically) ... man, I wish we lived closer, so I could place a bet with you and take some money from you on that, because it'd be the easiest money I made in a long time.
I have yet to hear ANYONE - conservative, liberal, Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, claim that the Republicans are going to actually PICK UP seats in Congress. EVERYONE has essentially conceeded the fact that Democrats are going to pick up seats - the only question is how many, and if they'll win back control of either the House or the Senate come November.
That being said... I'll give you a fighting chance here. Back it up with facts. Point to the factual observations you can make to back up the notion that (excuse me... I just threw up a little bit) there will be more Republicans in office come the fall of 2006.
This, I just GOTTA hear.
posted at 4:33 PM
This is a truly great example of how we really CAN re-build the American Theatre and through its/our artistry be that beacon of light to the rest of the world.
Let's keep the faith and a happy independence day to ALL!
Meghan posted at 12:58 AM
Simply brilliant post.
I, too, am proud to be an American... and proud to call you my friend.