America is the greatest nation on the earth. And if you don’t believe that, the rate of immigration to this country – and the great lengths to which people will go to get here – should be proof enough.
The story of how America achieved what it has is also nothing short of remarkable. The storms we’ve weathered and the issues we’ve overcome are amazing. No other nation’s history rivals it.
However, when many elementary schools and colleges tell America’s history, it turns very quickly from a story of strength, courage and brilliance to one of hypocrisy, plunder, injustice, and pillaging.
Talk about Columbus and instead of the foundation of the land, they see the death of natives. Discuss the founding fathers, and they will tell you about immoral slave owners and recount each and every personal flaw they had. Explore our military interventions, and they will speak not of the lives we saved, but of American Imperialism.
Point out that America defeated forces that were trying to wipe us out in World War II, and they’ll come back with how many people died because we dropped two atomic bombs in Japan and all the people we put into internment camps.
Talk about the prosperity our citizens have created – not only for themselves, but people all over the world – and they’ll tell what disproportionate percent of the world’s resources we’re using or they’ll tell you about the fractional minority of our country who is homeless.
It’s not just political. Point out all of the jobs that Bill Gates created and how many causes he’s supported with his profits, and they’ll only tell you about how it was wrong that he had a monopoly and how he made “too much money.” Take an immensely qualified Supreme Court candidate like Clarence Thomas and instead of celebrating the advancement of a black American to a Supreme Court position, watch as he’s vilified for being an Uncle Tom – simply because he’s a black conservative.
Some conservatives believe that liberals hate America. I don’t personally believe that to be the case. Maybe the word “hate” isn’t quite the right one. Though, I do understand why people would think that.
It’s hard to find a liberal, mostly in politics, to be sure, who volunteer their opinions on how awesome this country is. You won’t too often find liberals pontificating on how we really handled some issue or confrontation beautifully. It’s rare to hear them talk about all the good the United States has done in the world.
In fact, sadly, I think it has gotten to the point that when liberals politicians talk about the greatness of America, it rings hollow. It sounds like they’re saying that because they believe they must to get elected.
The absence of any appreciation for the country’s greatness or acknowledgment of how much we’ve given the rest of the world is enough to lead many conservatives to believe that they do, in fact, hate America.
My perception, though, is that they do enjoy America. I simply believe that some are less likely to take a second, sit back, and appreciate what they have in the United States. It’s just not in their DNA to spend any time taking an introspective and appreciative look at what they have.
They’re more likely to find the bad in whatever they’re talking about.
If there are 50 kids getting a scholarship to Yale, they’ll complain about the unfairness to those who do not get that scholarship. Whatever good happens, some will always be there to tell you what is bad.
Show me a successful businessman, and I’ll show you someone who will decry the backs upon which this success was unfairly taken.
When it comes to the history of this country, it has to be appreciated and understood by the sum of its parts. It has to be appreciated for what we’ve achieved and overcome.
This is not to say that we can’t acknowledge and learn from some of our historical low points. But we can either lament that we had them, or celebrate that we overcame them.
That some of the founding fathers owned slaves does not take away from what they accomplished in creating the single greatest form of government on the planet. That we interned Japanese-Americans during World War II does not at all take away from the greatness and importance of what we accomplished in winning that war.
We need not inspire by finding a villain to overcome. We don’t need to create and exaggerate a crisis that requires tearing apart the existing capitalist system for a failed solution.
Conservatives talk about the greatness of our nation and ask all Americans to do what we can to make it even better. Others see the worst examples of unfairness in our society and lament what they see as the cruelty of this country.
I think liberals are earnest in their observations and sincere in their efforts to achieve equality, but I find it a shame that they choose to criticize the institutions of this country – without also acknowledging the good parts – instead of inspiring people and raising them up.