America: Flawed, Unsettled, Exceptional

A checkered past, an uncertain present, and a hopeful future make America worth celebrating—warts and all.

Hello, and happy July 4th! It’s probably a busy day for most of you, so I’ll keep this one relatively short. Here are 3 quick reads about this country we call home and its flaws, its restless nature, and why it (and its citizenry) is so exceptional.

No country is beyond reproach. America is flawed and has struggled to live up to the promises our founding. America is unsettled and the constant change our nation undergoes often feels tumultuous or anxiety-inducing. But above all, America is an exceptional country populated by an exceptional people, and acts as a force for good that no country has ever been before.

America is Flawed

What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July?, by Frederick Douglass

You can read Douglass’s entire speech here. We have a history of failing to truly treat all men and women as equal. It would be shallow to celebrate America without acknowledging this. True love for country means loving the real thing, not the postcard version of it. It means loving that the government that once kept Douglass in shackles now celebrates him and his descendants.

And America is Unsettled

Do Americans Even Know How to Agree?, by Mona Charen

To keep it short and sweet: surveys show that Americans actually agree on a lot more than we think we do. But we are a restless people, constantly reimagining ourselves and our society. Is it any wonder that we are so anxious and fearful of our future? It’s hard to love a country when you hate half of its citizenry. Yet we have let the conflict entrepreneurs of our time drive wedges between us. As we celebrate, it is worth considering how to mend those rifts.

But America is Still Exceptional

Only in America, by David Masci

Masci’s writing contrasts against the backdrop of our flawed past and our restless present by showcasing that what truly makes America exceptional is that for many, it represents a better future. We are free to live in any country in the world, and we live here. Others risk limb, liberty, and life to come here because of the future America creates. For all of our flaws, our imperfections, and our infighting, we are a nation defined by our tolerance for one another, and by our ability to let anyone from anywhere make a better life for themselves. Where our past is one marked by regret and our uncertain present can feel suffocating, Masci shows through clear eyes that our future is one of hope.

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