With the July 4 holiday fast approaching, we would like to address the malaise that has overtaken many in this country, turning it from one of the most ambitious and optimistic nations into one with more cynicism, more apathy and more distrust.
There is a disquieting, ever-growing chorus of those who no longer extol what is so great about our country: our ability to say what we want without fear of imprisonment or worse, the ability of others to say what they believe without the same thing happening to them, the ability to elect leaders at every level of government and have constant contact with them even when we may be on the opposite sides of the political spectrum, the ability to read all types of news in print, watch it on television, search it out on the Internet, the ability to be in the same country as others with completely different lifestyles, skin colors, language barriers or levels of intelligence and wealth and still be able to be treated as equals under the law.
What isn’t great about that?
We hear some constantly crowing about “taking this country back.” Back from who? From our fellow citizens? What is so wonderful about this country is it doesn’t have to be “taken back.” There are no coups planned. We aren’t in a police state. We have worked hard to develop a free nation that allows for dissent and debate, for three completely separate branches of government who hold checks on each other. In that way, no one group can hold power over the other two. One makes the laws, one enforces the laws and one interprets the laws to make sure they hold up to Constitutional scrutiny.
We should be praising that, not dismissing it.
We live in a country where a person can travel to 50 completely unique and distinct areas — like the great song says “from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam” — and never leave the country. We can go from snow to sand in a mere few hours. We can define each other as red states and blue states when what is truly happening is that we are all becoming a bit purple.
Here, unlike some other places in the world, we are free to worship as we choose, and we are free not to follow any religion at all. It doesn’t make us any less of a citizen. We are free to defend ourselves and to be free from anyone infringing upon our rights.
We still have some work to do. We have a history of getting things wrong and working to make them right, and we will continue to keep pursuing happiness for all of our citizens.
That should be celebrated. That should be held up high for all to see.
So the next time you want to talk about how bad things are, take a moment and remember how much we have as a country. Think about how we can make it better. Instead of talking about problems, work on solutions.
That’s what this country has always done, and it’s what we will continue to do.
(The Editorial Board consists of Publisher Zach Ahrens, Editor Ricky Duke and Reporter Joe Lamb)