This may not go over very well with some people nowadays, but here it is. I’m extremely happy that I was born to live in this time and in this place.
I am grateful for it.
I have avoided the worst parts of history’s difficult arc that was filled with plague, technological stagnation, superstitious oppressions, widespread famine, and feckless despotism. I live in the midst of technological marvels that would have been beyond the dream of imagination in ages past.
I am grateful for the country into which I was born. I consider it to be a beautiful, wonderful aberration that bent the arc of history toward a better way. Our founding inspired other revolutions and changes that were to humanity’s benefit.
I understand the urge to judge a work and see it wanting. I know the compulsion never to pronounce a work completed, but rather see all the ways that it could have, or should have, been better.
Very little lives up to what you think it should be. Not everything is how you wish it was.
Sometimes people make compromises they regret. I know any human makes choices they wish they could take back. I believe there is some moment of enlightenment, even if it’s at the point of death, where people understand the ways they could have been better or made smarter choices.
But so long as I have the freedom to voice a frustration, I rejoice. There are people who cannot speak for fear of persecution and death.
So long as I have the freedom to keep trying, I rejoice. There are people who believe they have no reason to keep trying.
So long as I have the freedom to understand that working toward perfection doesn’t mean I have to destroy all that’s been done before, I rejoice. Life itself is a work in progress.
So yes, this is a brief love letter to the country of my birth. It’s not some oddity to be proud of that.
It’s not a rejection of things that could be improved. It’s an embrace that imperfect people get to the future in imperfect ways.
It’s a recognition that, for all its imperfections, the country of my birth has produced great people. It has great people in it still. Those people are still capable of great things.
There are great people who come here for new beginnings because they see that, too. If only we could see what they see, they could be our mirror to the beauty we are.
So yes, I am grateful for the land where I was born. I know the flaws and missteps of its history because that knowledge has always been open to anyone who wanted to seek it.
To bring it back to Star Wars, as I love to do, Luke learned to love and understand the basic humanity of failure, and build on that to bring forth the light of promise.
Anger and fear are a dead end. History is littered with the products of anger and fear. They are horrors unto themselves.
Love, understanding, and hard work are the path forward. They always have been. They always will be.
Let’s embrace each other and be happy for the things we can do together.
And so I proudly say to my fellow Americans, Happy 4th of July. Let’s not waste the premise and the promise.