Scoot: Are you proud to be an American?

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Photo credit scyther5

A new survey shows that only 45% of those responding say they are extremely proud to be an American, and that represents an historic low. What’s going on?

Many more Republicans say they are extremely proud to be an American than Democrats, but that may have a lot to do with the fact that their party is not in the White House.

As we approach the 4th of July – the day America declared its independence – it’s appropriate to reflect on how we feel about being an American.

Does being proud to be an American mean you have to agree with the president or agree that the country is headed in the right direction? Or, is being proud to be an American more about accepting what is wrong with America with the knowledge that you can work toward making America better?

I think you can be proud to be an America even if you are critical of POTUS and critical of the tone of political discourse in America. Being proud to be an American should be more about understanding and appreciating the freedoms we do have, including the freedom to not agree with the president or other politicians. Part of pride in America is the pride we all should have for the great freedoms we have and the power we hold as citizens to work to change the thing with which we disagree.

As a talk show host, I witness the frightening reality that many Americans do not understand, or even respect, the true meaning of the First Amendment. The beauty of the First Amendment is that we have the right to disagree with the president, elected officials and each other. This is a precious right that is the foundation of America; and yet, too many people who call themselves “patriotic Americans” fail to appreciate that the First Amendment gives us the freedom to disagree. Disagreeing is not intrinsically un-American. In fact, I suggest that more important than the content of our opinions is the fact that we have a right to express our opinions, even if a president or a majority disagree.

We, the people, continue to struggle with the concept that we are a nation of immigrants; and our political system and our way of life are admired so much that people from all over the world want to live here. Many have left their native countries and made America their home. Think about how special a place would have to be for you to want to leave your home country and move to a new country you consider home.

Recognizing that we are a nation built by immigrants does not contradict the reality that we simply cannot let everyone in, and there should always be rules about coming to America,

It is fair to put things in perspective and realize that as we celebrate America’s 243rd birthday, that relative to the many dynasties of the world, we are still a relatively new country; and we all should be proud that we embarked on a unique journey that other nations would not have the courage or strength to endure.

Happy Birthday, America!