What’s Right About America!

Posted: Aug 03, 2005 12:00 AM
Last Sunday when I returned from church services I opened my hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and settled in with a cup of coffee to review the day’s news. It was a good thing I had already received my inspiration at church, or I could have easily become downright depressed over the negative headlines in nearly every section of the paper.

The majority of headlines on the front page of each section promised a story that would focus on the negative aspect of an event or issue, rather than the positive contributions people are making to fix the biggest problems we face. These headlines included “Immigrants pay painful price for illegal dentistry” on A1 and “No balm in the pews for black males’ pain” on B1. The editors even found a way to dampen Lance Armstrong’s historic seventh-consecutive Tour de France victory with “Where to put Lance?” at the top of the sports page. Why must it be a question surrounding one of the greatest athletes of all time? Instead of focusing on what is right about America, too many media outlets continue to follow the “if it bleeds, it leads” axiom.

It is no wonder that too many American citizens continue to wrongly believe our economy is struggling, or that our military has achieved few successes in fighting the global war on terrorism. Too many politicians, educators and media outlets seem determined to see their fellow Americans lose faith in themselves and the opportunities for success our great nation provides.

We have much to be proud of as Americans, beginning with our Constitution. The Constitution’s guarantees and protections of freedom are timeless. They were derived from the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness professed by our Founders in the Declaration of Independence and granted us by our Creator. Our Constitution, written and ratified just over 200 years ago, shines across the world to remind others that individual freedoms are an inalienable right, not a gift from benevolent government leaders.

Our Constitution guarantees us the freedom of speech, despite those who seek to limit it. We have the freedom to practice our chosen religion, despite those who mock it. We have the freedom to peaceably assemble, despite those who protest our goals. And we have the freedom to bear arms, despite those who want to outlaw them.

America also leads the world in technological discovery. Our space program, despite its problems, is discovering new planets and exploring the galaxies while other nations struggle to develop basic infrastructure necessities. The microchip, developed in America, revolutionized communications and data transmission around the world. Without the microchip, the Internet would still be a dream and not a reality. Our nation’s free market economy encourages those in the medical fields to develop new innovations to enrich our lives, such as organ transplants, remote heart monitoring devices and pharmaceutical drugs.

The opportunity to achieve individual success no matter where you start in life or your background is another positive factor that makes America a unique nation. We don’t have a true class or caste system in America. Some politicians have attempted to artificially construct such as system so they can then exploit feelings of class envy among those in the lower economic levels. The fact is, anyone can achieve individual success in America if they have a dream and the desire to make it come true.

Fortunately, we are blessed that our nation and our freedoms are protected every day by the world’s strongest and bravest military personnel. Despite the claims of liberal political and media pundits, the efforts of our Commander-in-chief and our military are greatly appreciated throughout the world. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that citizens in even majority-Muslim nations hold increasingly positive impressions of America. There is a growing understanding across the world that the U.S. is serious about promoting freedom and democracy.

Some in our country believe that we have no right to meddle in the affairs of dictatorial regimes in far away lands. We must remember that while we are conferred inalienable rights upon our birth on American soil, those rights come with certain responsibilities. We must vigilantly protect our rights here at home, but also help those across the globe who have not yet tasted freedom. Surely our Creator, let alone Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of our Founders, did not envision a world where our inalienable rights should be available only to those who live in this, the “shining city upon a hill.”

Be proud to live in America, not disheartened. Don’t let the enemies of individual freedom abroad and at home destroy your optimism and your dreams. Our republic was founded with an optimistic belief in the abilities of the individual and a desire to pursue individual achievement, unencumbered by the chains of an oppressive government. The actor John Wayne accurately described this desire in his 1960 movie The Alamo.

“Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell…however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat. The same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step…Some words can give you a feeling that make your heart warm. Republic is one of those words.”

Our republic has withstood wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, terrorist attacks and assaults on individual freedoms from outside and from within. Negativity may “lead” in mainstream media most of the time, but American optimism always succeeds. What’s right about America is the strength of America.