Despite my left-leaning political views, and despite the dogma of the right/alt-right who insist I’m nothing but a libtard, snowflake who hates America, I love this country. I’m proud of it. I’m proud to be an American. I feel the butterflies in my stomach each time I hear our anthem. I gladly thank soldiers for their service and hold each of them in the highest esteem. I feel the pride of a nation whose history tells the story of how a rag-tag bunch of colonists, with a LOT of help from the French, overthrew the greatest empire this planet has ever seen. I feel the raw emotion, although nearly 76 years have passed, each time December 7 is seen on my calendar. I ponder the overwhelming fear of what it must have been like to storm the beaches each June. I feel the deep sadness of our loss each September, and how it forever changed us as a people. I feel the solidarity brought on from that tragedy as well, how we came together as one people. History tells us a great story of triumph, loss, grief, and joy. It tells us that America can be stunned, even knocked to the mat, but that we won’t stay down long, no, we will stand up again, and fight.
America is more than its history, though, and it is more than the men and women who make it. America is an idea. An idea that started when some disenfranchised Puritans fled their country, searching for a place to believe what they believed free of persecution. It started when a group of men, one summer day, added their names to an act of treason. It started when four black college students sat at a lunch counter, and it started when Abraham Lincoln called this nation a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Why do I not hate America? Because deep down, in its roots, America is still the America Lincoln describes. We live in a country where dissent is not only allowed but expected and welcomed. Where we have the liberty to write on this website and say what we want to say without policing from our Government. Where we have the good fortune to be ruled by a government of representation, not autocracy. These liberties are what makes the idea of America so great. They are what inspires young men and women to voluntarily don their uniforms. They are what draws immigrants from around the globe to our shores. For me, I say, let them come. Let more of them come. Let each man, woman, and child add to the rich tapestry that is this great country. Let them weave into our history their own stories, their own experiences, and their own love of this country. Let them be part of the idea that is America, and let them shape this idea for the future, just as we have had the opportunity to do.
My glasses are rose-colored, yes, as the country I love so much systematically destroyed an entire people to become what it is, but that’s an entirely different history lesson. Still, no amount of vitriol from our current President will make me love this country any less. This is not Trump’s America, this is not Obama’s America, and it is not the America we see on the news. For we are still Lincoln’s America, we are still a country that believes in equality and liberty, and we must never forget that.