Why I Am Proud to Be A U.S. Citizen

I have talked here many times about the foolishness of politicians and some of the ways I think the U.S. government is doing things that keep making things worse here in the United States. But despite all of that, I do love this country, these United States of America. Since Independence Day is nigh, and before I go back to all of that criticism, I would like to talk about part of why I am proud to be a citizen of the United States.

You might be wondering why I say I am proud to be a U.S. citizen when I say so many unkind things about the government. Well, that I can say unkind things about the government is a big part of that why. There are countries in the world where criticizing that country’s government can get a person thrown in jail. Here in the U.S. I can criticize the government all I want. And not only is that liberty protected, it is enshrined right in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Pay close attention. It does not say that the government gives anyone this freedom as a privilege. It says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The foundation document of the U.S. government explicitly prohibits the U.S. government from making any laws that would make criticizing the U.S. government illegal. Some may argue the U.S. is just another country, not that special. But I disagree. And that protection of freedom of speech is a part of what makes it special.

Mind you, that has not stopped the government from trying to make laws abridging freedom of speech. But those laws have mostly been overturned or repealed. Others are crumbling. And there have been times when even speech that seems (to some) like it should be banned, has been protected. There are countries in the world where speech denying the Holocaust or promoting Nazism is prohibited. Not here.

Why would that be good? Why should I be proud of that? Do I sympathize with Holocaust deniers or Nazis? Hell no! I hate fascism, and Holocaust deniers are a special kind of mean-hearted stupid. But the answer to speech you do not like is your own speech. The answer to lies is not to hide the lies, but to tell the truth. Freedom for me but not for thee is not freedom. It is tyranny.

Make no mistake. What keeps the United States a free country is not democracy. When the two wolves and the sheep vote on what is for dinner, the sheep is not free. What keeps the United States a free country is the willingness and ability of people to stand for freedom even for those we do not like.

Right about here is where I could get very political and start criticizing the U.S. government and liberals and conservatives for all sort of things. But that is not the point of this post.

Truth be told, many things are getting better in this country even as politicians at various levels try to grab for more power. The last vestiges of institutionalized racism are still with us, but they are also slowly crumbling away. Prohibitions that have resulted in thousands if not millions of unjust incarcerations are starting to be challenged. Challenged without a violent rebellion.

Despite the increasing militarization of police departments across the U.S. in the name of fighting the so-called “war on drugs”, the challenges to laws prohibiting the use of marijuana are not violent. They happened at the ballot box.

Freedom to criticize the government, criticize its laws, criticize its politicians is enshrined in the very foundation of the federal government. Freedom in other areas is getting more recognition here. And even with many politicians trying to rig the system in the favor of themselves and their friends, people are still finding ways to get around the system to do new things. We have crowd-funding now. And something called the sharing economy is starting the blossom.

So what is my point? My point is, I love the Unites States, my home country. Not because of hoo-rah slogans or because of any wars we have fought. Not because of smarmy patriotic propaganda. I love this country because freedom is not just something the government lets some people have. Freedom is enshrined here as it is no where else. I love this country because I see people making new ways through all the mess that so many politicians have left in their way.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a certain amount of that smarmy patriotic propaganda that still brings a tear to my eye. When I see U.S. flag go up, I stop to watch. When people talk about the sacrifices made by the founders of this country, I stop to listen. When someone sings the national anthem or “God Bless America” with pride and joy, I stop and I listen and I get teary-eyed.

But the songs and the flags and the propaganda are not why I love the United States. I love this country because the Constitution of the United States enshrines the protection of liberty. Do we humans imperfectly enact that protection? Sure. Do we sometimes act contrary to it? Sadly, yes. But the protection of liberty is nonetheless there. “Congress shall make no law…”

So what does that mean? It means we, the people of these United States, can change things. We can make change happen. We can act on behalf of liberty. And that is beautiful. That is wonderful.

And slowly, gradually, that change is happening. Despite the criticism of the old guard, there is a renewed push for liberty. And that is beautiful too.

So yes, despite all the criticisms you have seen and will see me make here at Liberate One, I do love the U.S. I think this is a wonderful place. And although I want to visit other places on this world, I do not want to live anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

Have a happy and safe Independence Day.

3 Responses to “Why I Am Proud to Be A U.S. Citizen”

  1. […] See original here: Why I Am Proud to Be A U.S. Citizen | Liberate One […]

  2. likem.. Says:

    A little something for your sweet spot

  3. likem.. Says:

    And your rowdy bits..

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: