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After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I, and many others (not just in my party) became sick to their stomachs. We saw marches, outrage from high-profile politicians and celebrities, and even one rock star, Bille Joe Armstrong, lead singer for the band Green Day, revealing he is “renouncing” his U.S. citizenship at a concert in London after the decision.
There are many who believed this made the USA no longer great and no longer free, and I disagree.
The United States of America has had and still has its problems. We have had slavery, had and continue to have racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, sexism and hatred toward those in the AAPI community. There was a time when women couldn’t vote and heck, we women couldn’t even have a credit card until the mid 1970s.
But despite the rights we see being taken away from us and put into the hands of the states, despite 26 states (and counting) planning to ban abortion with 41 individual bans and10 states wanting no exceptions, even in the cases of rape or incest, I still believe our nation is great, the greatest – the leader in democracy and in freedom throughout the world.
Here are some things that make our nation great, even greater than other nations throughout the world:
- Our size. We are the fourth-largest country in the world with over 6% of its landmass.
- Diversity. We have the most diverse population with various races, religions and ethnicities.
- First Amendment. We have a First Amendment that not only provides freedom of speech (as many other nations do), but protects religious freedom and freedom of the press. As far as that free speech, Americans are among the world’s most supportive citizens with regard to free speech – even if it criticizes the government or supports an unpopular opinion – freedom of the press, and the right to use the internet without government censorship. Unlike other countries, in the U.S. freedom of speech includes the right to engage in symbolic speech, to use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages, and to advertise commercial products and professional services. It also gives us the right to not speak, specifically the right to not salute the flag if one so desires. Americans are also more tolerant of offensive speech than people in most other nations despite what you might think after reading social media.
- We lead the world in aerospace and aviation.
- If you desire to be an entrepreneur, it is very easy to start a business in the United States, the land of opportunity, compared with other countries.
- Our passports have far fewer restrictions when traveling the world than most other nations.
- We are an extremely educated nation, with nearly 46% of our population obtaining higher education.
- We have access to food and clean drinking water.
- We are one of the world leaders in medical innovation and the world’s top three hospitals – the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital — are in the United States.
- We have the strongest military power in the world.
I could go on. I could also list things we are not first in, best at or excel in. As Europeans say, the United States is still a teenager compared with the rest of the world.
And although we are No. 1 in so many things, we in the United States are in jeopardy of losing that status if we do not come together as a nation and stop trying to undo what our Founding Fathers truly wanted for us as a nation. For example, we must respect the “wall of separation between the church and state,” as Thomas Jefferson described the adoption of the establishment clause, and resist becoming an extremist or fascist nation.
Our democracy is truly in danger with recent Supreme Court rulings and potential future decisions, such as SCOTUS reviewing state legislatures’ power in federal elections and possibly giving them the right to ignore federal election results and determine the winners themselves. That would be very dangerous in a nation where some still believe the “stolen election” lie. Democracy, the will of the people, will truly be overturned in those states if the Supreme Court rules accordingly.
Still, despite our flaws, this July Fourth I am still proud to be an American. Proud of the opportunities that I as a woman and an American have, and that people in so many countries do not. And I am hopeful for the future, secure in the knowledge that good will prevail over evil, love will prevail over hate, and the nation that fought like hell to right wrongs will continue to do so.