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Happy Independence!

July 4, 2016

Countries are a lot like people. They may have the best of intentions, may in fact be really great, but are still far from perfect. Ideally, they make every effort to be the best they can be.

That’s America. Sure, we’ve screwed up mightily in the past, just ask Indians, minorities and homeowners. There’s a show called The Newsroom, where in the pilot episode Jeff Daniels goes on a terrific rant about why America isn’t the greatest nation on Earth. He was responding to a question that the two political shills on his left give hollow-shell answers of “freedom, freedom and freedom,” setting up Daniels for a home run.

Except America is the greatest nation on Earth. Some 200 years ago, we launched an experiment that said all people are created equal and the government’s job was to secure those rights and that such a government could be run of, by and for the people. No royalty, no exalted folks, just us imperfect people doing the best we can. Some will tell you that we do have exalted people; that white people are America’s royalty. En masse, we probably have it easier, sure. But the first woman that was a millionaire was a black woman. Look at the millionaire list now, and pretty much all the “races” (dumb term) are represented equally. Yes, minorities have come afoul of people doing their worst instead of their best. There are an ocean of tears to be shed for people abused by people with more power…

… but that “of the people, by the people, for the people” concept is what makes America great.  One could argue that other countries are now equally of, by and for, but royalty persists, warlords persist, and in some countries that should know better, human rights are denied.

Much ink has been spilled about America’s unnecessary wars. Maybe they are, but we have never gone to war with a country that values and secures human rights. We tend to lose sight of the fact that democracy is founded on human rights; that when we try to spread democracy, we are in fact spreading the value of human rights. It can be argued that such countries aren’t ready for human rights; we have politicians accepting political contributions from countries that oppress women, “infidels” and gay people. Shame on them.

America is great because we care. Maybe not every individual, but on balance we do. Even democrats care; I may not agree with their solutions, but with the exception of power-hungry people on both sides of the isle, people care.

Something we seem to have forgotten here should be reclaimed. Plurality has swooned in the face of polarity. We’ve forgotten that we can have contrary beliefs and values to those of others, and as long as we don’t trod the rights of other people, we have the right to live how we want anyway.

A Facebook friend had the temerity to claim the Founding Fathers would be horrified by Republicans. I may concede that if we also agree that they would be horrified by Democrats. Federalism would make them barf. It sickens me a bit, too. Small, local government should be the ideal, yet we insist on running full tilt the other way to big, centralized government. It seems the current administration doesn’t even want to stop there, but leans into globalized government.

What’s great about America, though, is that we can quickly lean the other way. Hey, Great Britain has, so can we. Why? Because America is great. We were great, we (as people if not government) are great, and we will be great.

Happy Fourth of July. Be free!

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