I Still Love America

An Editorial

I had a plan for this year’s Cat Flag 4th of July blog. I was going to do a fun post about the origins of all 50 state nicknames. I thought it would be exactly the sort of informative, entertaining blog for a holiday that celebrates the nation I was born in, that I live in, and that I love.

Yes, I still love the United States of America.

Now, I am being told that I shouldn’t. That we should tear down monuments to our historical figures, even our Founding Fathers. That the holiday we are due to celebrate in a few days “glorifies white supremacy”. That our nation was founded on slavery and racism, and is rotten to its very core.

June 2020 has been a frightful month. A month that began with riots, vandalism, and destruction that killed several innocent bystanders and devastated business that were already hurting due to the ongoing pandemic. A month where rioters and anarchists were allowed to seize and occupy by force the core of our nation’s 15th-largest city, only disbursed at last once people were shot and killed. A month where it seemed tearing down or vandalizing statues, seemingly any statues, had become the latest fun summer pastime. A month where calls to defund or abolish law enforcement led to a 145% spike in gun sales as scared Americans decided for the first time that they needed to take immediate action to protect themselves.

Yet I still love America.

I love the natural beauty of this land, the wonder of its landscapes and the diversity of its wildlife.

Three environments 3

I love the people of this land, who foreigners often remark are among the friendliest and most genuine people on the planet.

I love our Constitution and the freedoms it grants to me.

US constitution and flag by wynpnt at goodfreephotos

I love the prosperity that we Americans enjoy, having the world’s largest economy by GDP, a very high standard of living, and so much food and creature comforts available so readily that we all get spoiled.

I love our diversity, as more than a million people from around the world immigrate to the United States every year in search of opportunity, bringing elements of their own cultures with them.

Of course, we are not perfect. No nation is. Last month, we got a very real taste of our nation’s imperfections and continued problems. Yet one of the things I love most about America is that we are a people who are always striving to improve and do better.

The police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd are about to face trial. The city of Louisville, Kentucky, passed a law banning no-knock warrants and named the law after Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed during the execution of such a warrant. President Trump enacted an executive order requiring police forces receiving federal grant money ban chokeholds, train officers on de-escalation techniques, maintain a database of complaints about police officers, and maintain mental health experts on staff. The Republican governor of Mississippi just signed a bipartisan bill to redesign that state’s flag to remove symbols of the Confederacy from it.

Meanwhile, it has seemed over the past month that virtually every major corporation across America have made public statements condemning racism and committing themselves to a review of their hiring and promotion practices, with many also donating to civil rights groups.

Are these the acts of a society dedicated to white supremacy? Are these the acts of racists seeking to protect their privilege?

In 1620, 102 men, women, and children aboard the Mayflower arrived in the New World to start a society that was dedicated to being better than the ones they had left behind in Europe and would instead seek to be closer to God.

In 1776, the descendants of those passengers, inspired by Enlightenment ideals, were bold enough to break with the past and start a new nation that would have liberty as its cornerstone.

From 1861 to 1865, the grandchildren of the Founding Fathers shed their blood to secure the freedom of those whose liberty had not been included in the original deal and make America more closely match its founding ideal.

A century later, a preacher who was the great-grandson of slaves decided to take action and lead an effective campaign of civil rights protests to make America keep its promise to those who had been freed by that war that they would be counted as equal Americans.

The history of America is a history of constant improvement, each successive generation always working towards that goal written into our Constitution: “a more perfect union”. This is the history I am proud of.

I still love America.