Remembering America’s light

A Gallup Poll conducted last year around this time showed that only four in 10 Americans reported they are “extremely proud” to be an American. This matched the previous year’s record low, and is down from seven in 10 as little as two decades ago.
What has changed over the past 20 years? Why are so many Americans reporting the pride in their country is on the decline? We may not see that type of declining patriotism in this neck of the woods, but it’s clear patriotism is on the decline in other parts of the country.
One of the more obvious reasons is the hyperpartisanship we now face due to our political system. If one side is happy, that means the other side can’t be happy. If one side has the president, that means the other side has to be hysterical about the future of the country. No matter what happens, you have to be doom and gloom. One side finds a cure for cancer, the other side complains that oncologists are now out of work.
Our lack of unity is worrisome, to be sure. Sometimes we wonder if anything can unite this country. If we can’t unite for its birthday, we aren’t sure what could possibly bring us together. But for us, Independence Day is still a reminder of how great this country has been, is, and can continue to be. We have our issues, to be sure. We aren’t blind to the fact the country has a lot of problems it needs to deal with, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be proud to be American. This country is still the shining beacon on the hill, the country other countries aspire to mimic. If this country was so terrible, thousands upon thousands wouldn’t be trying to get in by hook or by crook. Clearly we are doing something right.
This editorial isn’t aimed at the professional malcontents. There are many Americans who are too far gone to ever say anything positive about the country, and they certainly have that right. If you are boycotting July 4 for whatever reason, you get to do that. Why? Because you live in a country where you are allowed to speak out against its government. If you think you have it rough here, pay a visit to China, Russia, Iran or  North Korea and see what speaking out against the country gets you. It won’t work out nearly as favorable for you. American leadership in the world remains as essential as ever. If you need evidence of that, look no further than Ukraine, Gaza or virtually any other part of the world. Countries look to us for help, for guidance. Same as it ever was.
Yes, we carry scars from ugly parts of our country’s past, but part of the beauty of this country is we can learn and grow. Whether red or blue, we are all American, and we all have our part to play in carrying on the greatness of this country. Social media would have you believe we all have very little in common and have to constantly be at each other’s throats. We submit we have much more in common than we know or understand.
Our union is far from perfect. But it grows and endures. That is worth celebrating. Happy birthday, America. We celebrate all that is great within you.

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