Happy Independence Day


Trump in the White House seems to be blunting people’s enthusiasm for Independence Day this year. I think now more than ever, we should celebrate our country’s strengths.

The ideals of our founding documents are still strong, and our institutions still represent them. The U.S. was critical in popularizing the modern idea of democracy based upon enlightenment ideals of freedom, equality, justice, and rights.

Despite the current waves of racism and xenophobia, we are a moderately diverse country in culture, ethnicity, and religion; and we have a strong and long-standing tradition of integrating immigrants into our culture. While we are seldom among the first countries to adopt new rights – from women’s suffrage to civil rights to gay marriage – we are also not among the many countries that hold out for generations (with the ugly exception of slavery). Despite waves of religious hysteria, we help popularize the idea of religious freedom.

We remain a nation of innovation and opportunity. We have found our way back from other times of hatred and division, and we can now too. Believing in the ideals that made this country great while help us get there. We can admit our country’s flaws and still love its strengths. That, not flag waving, is patriotism. Happy Independence Day.