On the birthday of my country, I have to say that I am very proud to be an American.
However, this is not an uncomplicated statement. The United States of America is a great country with a great amount of prosperity and opportunity. However, this prosperity and opportunity isn’t universally shared by all of its citizens. The United States of America is a country of great diversity. However, it also has a troubled history (and current reality) of racism and general intolerance. The United States of America has done a great deal of good in the world. However, it has also imperialistically pursued its agenda at great cost to some people and parts of the world.
Simply put, the United States is far from perfect. Still, no country is. We have our problems, but we are a great people and are capable of fixing them. Let’s take today to celebrate all the wonderful things that we are and all the wonderful things we can be; but let’s also take today to acknowledge our faults and shortcomings. There is no shame in admitting our weaknesses. Patriotism can be unconditional, but it should never be blind. We can love our country while admitting that we aren’t always in the right. When we admit to our faults, we are one step closer to correcting them and improving ourselves.
Also, the love of our country doesn’t need to be exclusive. There are so many great people and places in this world. We should never take an “us vs. them” approach to our patriotism. Patriotism can be about loving the people that we are, but we should always have deep respect and love for the rest of the world as well. We’re all in this one together.
The United States of America is far from the only wonderful place in the world and it’s not perfect; but it’s my home and I love it. Happy birthday America!