There are plenty of people out there who believe that America is the root of all evil and they can reel off a list of our faults as long as your arm. Indeed, plenty of things have happened in this country that we shouldn’t be proud of. Off the top of my head, I can come up with slavery, slaughtering the Indians, goading the Mexicans into a war and taking their land, killing tens of thousands of people in the Philippines, segregation, Jim Crow laws, not allowing women to vote for quite a bit of our history, and all sorts of dirty deeds that we engaged in while fighting the Soviets in the Cold War.
So, given that all of this is true, how is it that I can look you straight in the eye and tell you that, “America stands head and shoulders above any other country that exists or has ever existed?”
Simple — I compare our country not to some theoretical model of perfection, but to the other nations that have existed in the past and that exist today. Certainly the US looks horribly flawed when it is compared to what the IDEAL nation would be — but compared to say, France, Britain, Spain, Italy, etc., we look pretty good. In fact, our history looks better than that of many other nations, if only because most other nations have been around hundreds of years longer than we have and thus have had a longer period of time to abuse their own populations and their weaker neighbors.
Of course, just being one nation among many to have a checkered past is not what makes the US notable. Our nation’s greatness comes not only from our military might and the prosperity and freedom our citizens enjoy, but also from all the good we’ve done in the world. Just in the last century we saved Europe in WW1 and WW2 and then rebuilt it with the Marshall Plan. Then, when the Soviet Union menaced Western Europe, it was the United States that again took the lead in fighting against Communism worldwide. We had help, but without us, the Soviets may very well have united the world under a hammer and sickle by now. Not only did we win the Cold War with NATO’s help, we caused the Soviet Union itself to collapse in a futile attempt to keep up with us. Because of that, much of Eastern Europe is free today. Then there’s the 15 billion dollars we’re giving to fight AIDS in Africa, the 60% of world food aid that we provide, and the countless times that we’ve been called upon across the world to help out during natural disasters and negotiate an end to conflicts. You also have to consider what we’ve done for South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Bosnia, Kuwait, & Saudi Arabia among others.
Now I’m not saying that we didn’t have help or that there aren’t any other nations of note out there. But, if the United States hadn’t been willing to play the role that it has over the last century, what other nation would have had the heart, the will, and the muscle to replace us? Obviously, we’ve been indispensable and we still are although many people loathe to admit it.
I know some of you are probably thinking, “Hawkins, what you’re saying may very well be true, but it’s bad form to just come out and say it.” Well, I’m going to have to disagree. You see in this country and around the world, we have a lot of people who will not hesitate to tell you what they think is wrong with America. But quite frankly, there aren’t enough people who’re willing to tell you what’s right with our country. Talking about all the good things this nation has done shouldn’t be something that’s left to a few editorial columnists on July the 4th. The people who detest America certainly don’t limit their criticism to one day a year, so why shouldn’t those of us who love this country do the same?
No matter what anyone else thinks — I’m proud of what this country stands for — I’m proud of what we have achieved — I’m proud of what we’ve done and are still doing in the world — & and I’m proud to be an American. If you’re an American, you should be proud too…