Yes, America IS Great.

But it's not going to STAY great if we stay on our current path.

There's been a lot of America bashing lately. And it's not just coming from the left. Barack Obama took a lot of heat when he said “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” And Michelle Obama was soundly criticized for saying her husband's nomination was the first time she had been proud of her country. Yet, the same people who were so offended by the Obama's seeming lack of patriotism were the first to jump on the Trump bandwagon with his slogan promise to "Make America Great Again."

For many of us, that hit a sour note. What does he mean, "Make America Great AGAIN?" I thought America was pretty terrific already. From my perspective, a lot of Trump supporters really wanted to make it 1950 again. Sure, there was a lot to be said for 1950. We had stable families, more job security, better values. But to many people, 1950 wasn't so great. Especially if you were a woman, or a minority.

Recently, Laura Ingraham lamented that “In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country has changed. Now much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”

And now we have New York Governor Andrew Cuomo jumping into the fray with his recent comment “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great."

When did we quit believing America was great? When did we quit teaching our children that America was great? How did we manage to elect leaders who no longer can say that America is the greatest country in the world? If you spend a lot of time on social media, you've probably seen that clip from Aaron Sorkin's show "The Newsroom," where Jeff Daniels character goes off on a tirade on how America is not great. If you haven't watched it, go Google it. It's truly a masterpiece of liberal smugness. I was astonished at how many of my friends not only posted it but share the sentiment.

Well, all of these people are wrong. America was a great nation. It still IS a great nation. America is absolutely the greatest country in the world. Just look at all the great things Americans have given the world. We invented the airplane, microwave, telephones, air conditioning, rock and roll and the chocolate chip cookie! We brought the world baseball, basketball and football (the real kind, not that sissy kind that they play in Europe.) We were the first to land a man on the moon. We helped save the world, first from the Nazis, then from the Communists. And in the words of our former Secretary of State Colin Powell, “We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace.”

But that's not why America is the greatest country in the world. Other countries have fought great battles and created great art. But unlike those countries, we are not bound by a common race, language and history. We are not bound together by a geographic location. No, America was founded on and held together by an idea. The idea that all men were created equal. That all we needed were the freedom and the opportunity to succeed. That anyone, regardless of where or what they came from, could make it here.

We have not always lived up to this idea. It has been said that slavery was the original sin of this country. And its legacy still tears at us today. But at least it's a sin we've tried to atone for. It's a sin we fought a war to correct.

But for me, the essence of America's greatness was defined by our 40th president in his farewell address:

"America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, 'You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won't become a German or a Turk.' But then he added, 'Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.'"

A person becomes an American by adopting America's principles, especially those principles summarized in the "self-evident truths" of the Declaration of Independence, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Carl Friedrich wrote that "To be an American is an ideal, while to be a Frenchman is a fact."

Maybe Laura Ingraham needs to go back and listen to that speech again. America is not being ruined by all of those people coming here to be free. America was made great by all of those people who came here to be free. You'd think that a guy whose grandparents came to this country from Italy and became store owners would appreciate that more.

If there is anything threatening America's greatness, it is that people no longer believe in this idea. A lot of people share Ingraham's opinion that the America they love is being changed. And there are a lot of people who share Cuomo's belief that America was never that great to begin with. All of these people are wrong. America was great and IS still great because it is still unique among all the countries of the world. It's the only place where it's possible for anyone to BECOME an American.

We just need to keep believing in that.

Comments
No. 1-7
JASmius
JASmius

America passed out of "greatness" in 2008 and continues to spiral away from it. Our election results reflect that. Two terms of one arrogant, ignorant, obnoxious narcissist followed by a third without so much as missing a beat. As the old adage goes, "America cannot be great unless it is first good." We're not good anymore. Good people don't elect men like Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Good people are a dwindling minority. Everything is about the mob, the tribe, the gang mentality. That is what needs to be purged before American can be "great" again. And that remedy has never been farther away.

Onlylivingboy
Onlylivingboy

I went to a HR office in NYC today and as I was standing in line, there on the wall were pictures of Andrew Cuomo, Bill DeBlasio, and Donald John Trump, replete with red tie and wispy golden hair. And I said to myself, "Greatest city in the greatest country in the world and I gotta stand and look at these three knuckleheads? Eyy!"

EValdes
EValdes

Cuomo merely expressed explicitly what Obama expressed implicitly with his apology tour. There has been an undercurrent of hostility from the democrats and the left towards this country for many years now. They've just now started to feel comfortable expressing it. Maybe they think Trump somehow gives them cover.

tla
tla

Great article, and couldn't agree with it more. As someone who immigrated as a young child, I am profoundly aware how lucky I am to be an American and able to call myself American (even when some individuals may inevitably dig deeper) because those are the ideals of the nation. Sure in practice there have been errors made (i.e. slavery, the japanaese internment), but the idea of America has always been noble and true. What's happening today is so sad because its basically the political left and right agreeing, "yeah, America has no ideals and we just have to look out for our tribe." Sad.

E.E. Bokbok
E.E. Bokbok

Amen.

The United States was the first and only country to be founded in a universal ideal of proper government based on the essential nature of Man.

To underscore the point of this article, the founding line of our country does not say:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the location of their birth with certain unalienable Rights..."

It does not say:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the politicians currently in charge with certain unalienable Rights..."

It does not say:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the political party they tend to vote for with certain unalienable Rights..."

It says, rather, endowed by their Creator.

This means every single person born on Earth possesses the same basic Rights, and the United States is the country that recognizes those Rights.

While we are limited by practicality as to whom we may be able to protect in every given instance, we never deny that those people have Rights that ought to be protected if possible.