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God Bless the United States of America.

I was having a conversation a few days ago – just before the Fourth of July – and someone said they’d opened up Facebook and been frightened by all of the people posting American flags, thinking it was related to a conservative social media platform being launched.

Given the timing, no. It’s the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day. It’s people celebrating America.

You can also see a number of people – athletes, politicians, activists, ordinary people – protesting America. One athlete was hurt by the fact that the national anthem played during a medal ceremony, feeling like she’d been set up to hear it. This is an American athlete, competing to represent America at the Olympics, planning to protest America there on the international stage.

We have battles over education, with people suggesting that it’s wrong that we teach of America’s strengths and deeds, saying that America’s imperfections corrupt the national character, and we should be teaching that – that America’s character is corrupt.

With such a thought process, no wonder they shriek that our governmental system should be replaced with Socialism, built in their image. Socialism! For the people! We’ll get it right this time, maybe without killing millions and wrecking the most productive country the world’s ever seen! Surely American can endure the cost, unlike any other country in the history of the world!

These people… there are words, but I don’t think they’re worth typing.

They have every right to say what they say. In many cases, they’re right, too: America’s bright and shining past has occasional shadows to meet the dawn. I can’t pretend America’s national conscience is spotless, not when she turned away undesirables (like the Jews) fleeing the Nazis in World War II, not when we have the Trail of Tears, not when we have the Jim Crow era, not when we had a war over slavery.

But what these protesters and activists are missing is that they should also be celebrating their ability to say those things. For better or worse, you can’t say “America hides these dark truths” – when you’re talking openly about those truths. If what you said was accurate, brownshirts would come by in the night, at the behest of the government, and take you away. Your platforms would be removed.

Those athletes who want to represent America are being celebrated by America – not for their caustic attitudes, but for their freedoms. I do not agree with the negative sentiments. I remember history. I can look around and see how these same people would do in most other countries in the world.

In most places, as soon as they said such things, they’d be silenced: “If you don’t want to represent us positively, we don’t want you to represent us,” which is a sentiment that you find in American citizens, too – I have friends who’ve decided they won’t watch the Olympics if such athletes of ours are there. But here, in America, they have the express right – an inalienable right – to say what they want.

They can hate America and everything it represents. They can say that it’s the worst country on the face of the earth. They can lie and say that it hates the downtrodden, the nonnormative, the poor, minorities of every stripe… and fear only idiots.

In other countries, they can’t.

In America, they have the express right to defend themselves against idiots as they need.

In many other countries, they can’t. If they’re a member of the downtrodden, the nonnormative, they are fixed statically in place and cannot improve their station. Only others can do that for them.

And they want to hate America? Again, they have the right. And it’s stupid.

As I started off with, I have no problem acknowledging that America is not and has never been perfect. Even the choices made can be read multiple ways – for good and for evil.

But I’d say that of every country that has ever existed on Earth, America has tried the hardest to respect all of mankind, and has always tried to improve. Perhaps not wisely – our government is made of fallible humans – but the intent has always been there, and the claim of government for the people, by the people, of the people has been a true one for most of our history, maybe even all of it.

But we’re ceding that “for the people, by the people, of the people” to true believers, people who are convinced they’re always right despite distinct evidence to the contrary; our government is becoming an edifice of impossibly proud people who are convinced that they, armed with special and secret knowledge, are called to govern against the will of the maddened crowd they stir up.

My hope is that they’ve gone too far at last, Democrats and Republicans both. My hope is that in the next series of elections, we sweep these proud fools into the private sector, where they can preach and scream at their mirrors trying to convince the shells that look back at them of their wisdom and worth.

Make no mistake: I wish no harm upon any of them. If you do, I will tell you you are wrong to do so. I pray for the safety of every citizen, every day, and I mean that – we need violence even less than we need surrender, because violence will not and cannot be controlled.

But we would be far better off if those who represented us on the national and international stages believed in us and our country as well. A politician or athlete who becomes famous for saying we’re beyond redemption should be met with silence and censure, and ignored until they themselves are redeemed.

America is the greatest country in the world, and even after she’s gone, is likely to maintain that position for centuries.

God bless America.

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