Thursday, November 15, 2018

Top Ten Things I'm Thankful For #4 - A country with the greatest of all ideals

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Americanism is a question of principle, of idealism, of character.  It is not a matter of birthplace, or creed, or line of descent.
Theodore Roosevelt

It seems fitting on this most American of holidays, to express my gratitude for the country that I call home.  Now this is not going to be a post on American exceptionalism.  I do have dreams of living in other countries and from my travels I could be at home in quite a few.  I am and will always be grateful to have been born in this great country.  For the grand experiment in which I am a part.

More than anything else, America is a country founded on the greatest ideals and principles of self-governance that have existed on this planet.  That the power lies with the people and government is to be of, for, and by those people.  That every person (regardless of how we have ill-applied this truth) is born with innate human rights.  Rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of their happiness.  That government exists to protect these rights.  And that we have taken provision to secure these rights through codification in our laws and in the provisions of a organizational document for our government that exists solely to protect these rights of the people, the Bill of Rights.

Through this, our revolution truly changed the world, and creating a beacon for those around the world yearning to be free.  We were always a nation of immigrants, a melting pot of different people groups, backgrounds, creeds, faiths, races, and tongues.  And from the beginning, the colonies represented various factions united around one central, specific idea - that there is a better way.  It's why we are the United States of America and not simply America; we have a built in recognition that we are an assembly of different pockets of people, united by our ideals and belief in the country we call home.  It's why our country continues to grow more and more diverse, as people from every corner of the globe buy into the dream and experiment that is America.  It's why we have a statue dedicated to Liberty, calling them home.

Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal.  We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as the talent and energy allow.  Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.

Robert Kennedy

We have always been great because of these ideals.  There is an apocryphal quote mis-attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville stating "America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."  While the attribution may not be correct, the sentiment still remains true.  When we model and proclaim the ideals that we cling to, we are the greatest country on Earth.

We seem to be struggling with our ideals of late.  Closing ourselves off from the rest of the world instead of engaging it.  Fighting amongst ourselves instead of against the ills of this world.  Seeing groups long thought vanquished gaining ground again.  Attacking some of our most fundamental freedoms.

The good news is that there is hope.

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
Bill Clinton

Tomorrow will be better as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.
Walt Disney

Lord, I thank you for this country that you have ordained under the guiding principles of liberty and justice for all.  I pray we remember those blessings and strive to uphold those ideals once again.

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