As July 4 nears, I’m reminded afresh by how perspectives that I thought were “universal” or understood by almost everyone cannot be taken for granted anymore.
Consider, for example, this sentiment on reddit:
Obviously as an American I will be posting under the All Countries Matter hashtag, because it would be terrible to limit ourselves to supporting one country when many countries have issues and all countries need support and love.
Of course All Countries Matter, because every country has a number of precious, infinitely valuable human lives in them.
However, there is no way I would choose to immigrate to North Korea right now. Or China. Or a number of other countries.
(I can single those two out – North Korea and China – without being racist because I’m of Asian heritage.)
Because only in the United States is there a Constitution upholding … well, a number of things, including the freedoms of free speech, religion, peaceable assembly, and the press.
Only in the United States is a nation founded by choice on a Judeo-Christian heritage that resonates with my faith and belief in Jesus Christ (of Jewish descent!) as my Lord and Savior.
Just a few snippets from this nation’s founders and leaders that many non-Christians would like to bury in forgotten history:
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity. -John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. President
The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. -Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness… We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. – John Dickinson, signer of the Constitution
There are many more quotes that I encourage everyone to research here.
Our country’s ‘issues’
So then, am I saying that the United States has always, under every circumstance and with every leader, lived up to the lofty ideals enshrined in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution?
Of course not.
We know all too well the tragic times in U.S. history when people were not treated with equality under the law, when slavery was excused as someone’s “right” to own property, when Native Americans were forced to leave their own homes and worse, murdered in cold blood as they tried to resist.
And yet, I can also think of numerous injustices and tragedies committed in cold blood in many other countries and civilizations around the world – even to this day.
Yes, many countries have issues (though I’d rather have some issues like “let’s debate our current healthcare systems” vs. “I can’t even peacefully and respectfully disagree with my leaders for fear of being killed!”).
Yes, all countries need support and love.
But what happens when countries like China refuse all the support and love we try to give them?
Should we just turn a blind eye and let them torture and murder people in “re-education camps”?
For all America’s flaws and failings, it holds itself to a higher moral standard in its process and laws.
For that it should be praised and honored, not belittled because it has fallen short, at times, of that standard.
I recently came across this video where Joel Patrick (around the 1:18 mark) proudly says the United States is the greatest country in the world.
“Name one country where it’s better to be a person of color than America,” he says.
If you can think of one country, please leave it in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.
American by choice, not heritage
The recent spasm of statue-toppling in the news inspired me to write this blog post. Not everyone agrees with toppling statues – and I think Dinesh D’Souza, a fellow immigrant, gives a reasoned and insightful explanation as to why:
Fellow Americans – and I’m only American because I immigrated here, not because I was born here – can I begin to describe what a beautiful, priceless gift you’ve been given?
To live in a place that many outsiders, including non-citizens and refugees from political and religious persecution, look to as a “shining city upon a hill”? (I knew of Ronald Reagan’s speech before I ever got here!)
I am part European, part Asian by racial and cultural heritage. I could not help being those things – I was born that way. Nor do I wish to change those things, even if I could.
However, I became American by choice. And I remain grateful for all the sacrifices my parents, and this nation’s inhabitants, made in order for me to have that choice to immigrate and live here.
And that will always be cause for me to celebrate – not just on the Fourth of July, but every day I am here on this earth.