Before I go on, let get something straight. My love of my country does not blind me to its many shortcomings and bad behavior, both historically and contemporaneously. I am quite aware of the times in our history when the American government took actions that were not only mistaken but were in some cases shameful. Some examples that spring readily to mind include:
· The way President Polk provoked the war with
· The way President Jackson seized huge tracks of lands legally owned by Native Americans in Georgia and, despite rulings by our own Supreme Court that the actions were illegal, had the Native Americans forcefully relocated to “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma (only to see even large parts of those reservations taken away again by later Administrations and given over to settlement).
· The fact that, for the first 80 or so years of our existence, we tolerated the institution of slavery and all of its shameful associations, plus the more than a hundred years it took before we were able to make any real progress on civil rights for the freed slaves.
- How it took 160 years for us to understand that the expression "all men are created equal" also applied to women and gave them the right to vote.
· How, in 1893 we participated in the illegal overthrown of the sovereign and peaceful kingdom of Hawaii and later annexed it under a President who suppressed and hid from Congress the petitions signed by tens of thousands of Hawaiian citizens begging for their Queen to be re-instated – done partly out of a desire to provide the Navy a base of operations for it’s steam powered ships in the Spanish/American War and to check the expanding military and economic influence of Japan in the Pacific.
· Our treatment of Germany following the First World War (including an almost unknown and disastrous illegal expedition, in company with England, into Russia in an effort to prevent the Communist takeover and force that country to rejoin the war).
· How we have repeatedly tolerated and even supported totalitarian dictatorships around the world from Central America to Asia to
· How our policies in the
We paid the price of ending slavery with the bloodiest war in our history. A war in which over 600,000 Americans paid the price with their lives (a quarter of a million more than died in World War II). Show me one example in history of such moral resolve, of such dedication to “doing what is right” at any price?
Mexico’s own responsibility for the loss of that territory can not be ignored, nor the fact that those lands and peoples were spared a hundred years of almost constant civil war and strife with an economy in constant state of chaos and has seen, in just the last few years, the mass migration of over 12 million of their citizens to the United States --fleeing north seeking a better life in what so many critics mistakenly call our morally corrupt country.
We have recognized, if slowly, one after another of the despotic regimes we once supported and have seen them replaced with budding democracies and have supported and assisted their economic growth, even as our own has suffered as a result.
Just what is it about
It is no great mystery. It is no racial, religious, or technical superiority. It is the “American Spirit”. An almost worship of the rights of the individual, including the right of all people to be free and equal. It is a driven by a sincere desire to simply be fair --and a demand to see everyone treated fairly under all circumstances.
Yes, we have made mistakes, progress has seemed painfully slow, but standing here and looking back from the historical perspective, no nation, no society, has ever come close to the achievements we have made and continue to make. Other countries, so willing to criticize us for our shortcomings, strive to imitate our success and look to us for guidance and assistance. Millions of people endure untold hardships and even lose their lives trying to come here and live in
That is why those who are so willing to predict the fall of
There are dangers out there. We face serious economic problems and social conflict. We will undoubtedly make more mistakes and have to endure many more hard times. We will overcome them, just as we have always done. In the end,
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Note: Some people may not have been aware of some of the items listed above. I would be happy to start a discussion on any of these if anyone is interested.
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Today's Fun You Tube Clip