I wrote a "Top Ten Things I Love about America" for today:
1. Freedom of religion
I love the fact that I not only can worship God freely here, not only can worship the Christian God here, but I can be a Wesleyan or a Baptist, or a Catholic or a Quaker or a Lutheran or a Methodist. And so that I can have this freedom, so can Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, so can Muslims and Hindus and atheists and Hari Krishna's.
Apart from those who cause others harm, we are a nation of free will when it comes to religion. I am free to worship and live as I believe because you are free to worship and live as you believe. And even if some people from my faith prove to be evil, I will not be judged because of what others do.
2. All are created equal.
Despite our failures to implement this principle, we are doing much better than in the past. Whether you are man or woman, black or white, rich or poor, we aim to judge others by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin or their physical anatomy or the money they have in the bank. Equal justice for all, equal opportunity for all. When the system proves to fail us, we will modify the system.
3. A nation of law
The rule of law is central to civilization. People cannot be tried in the court of public opinion but through due process of law. When presidents violate the law, they must be held accountable. We may not always agree with the Supreme Court but we abide by its decisions until such time as they can be changed. The majority can be wrong, which is why the Constitution is in place.
4. A nation of justice
We have often failed, but the ideal remains of justice being blind. And although we often complain, we do not live in the corrupt world of Nazi Germany or communist USSR or the many dictatorships of history. Justice is sometimes subverted, but far less than in so many other places and times.
5. A nation of strength
There is a certain comfort in knowing that we have military strength. Of course strength is more than rockets. True strength also means the courage to resist striking when the consequences would be worse than holding back. When irrational fools are crying "bomb them," strength is having a cool head to see what the truly best course of action might be.
6. A nation of enterprise
Capitalism has its dangers, chiefly for those at the top to abuse those at the bottom. But the lessons of history are part of our laws. Free enterprise has generated amazing wealth and prosperity for many Americans, and the lessons of history have brought many safeguards to keep the monster more helpful than harmful. But we are a nation where you can still dream dreams.
7. A nation of basic rights
I have the right to remain silent. I have the right to a trial where I can face my accuser and to be judged by a jury of my peers. I cannot be detained indefinitely without any evidence. The police need probable cause to search my house. I have the right to defend myself against evildoers.
8. freedom of speech
I can blog in America. I can speak against the government. I can accuse presidents and presidential candidates of being liars and protest outside their events. I can start a newspaper and publish articles that accuse my city or state of corruption. I can even blow the whistle on an employer.
9. I elect my representatives.
If I do not think my senators or representatives are doing a good job representing me, I can mount a campaign against them. I can run for office myself. If I can get the majority on my side, I can change the trajectory of things. I am not against my government because I am my government. The government consists of people I elect. They are me, and I am them.
10. Give me your huddled masses.
We are a country with open doors where all who agree to adopt our way of life are welcome. "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to breathe free." There will always be those who fear the outsider. There always have been, from those who complained about the Irish or the Polish or the Chinese or the Germans or the Mexicans or you name it. But if they are longing to be part of us and share our vision for a great country, they are welcome!
This is the America I love. May we never forget it!