We are indeed so blessed to live in America. I’m saddened to watch a negative theme permeate our culture that suggests America is an evil country founded on hypocrisy. My wife and I recently returned from Washington, D.C., where we were able to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is beautifully designed and the exhibits are compelling and informative.
The museum is an important conveyor of aspects of American history both good and bad. The museum documents the evils of slavery while simultaneously acknowledging Americas successes in abolishing slavery and enhancing civil rights for all. One may choose to look at American slavery and use its presence as a way to denigrate all that is America but by taking this approach one simply dismisses all that is good about America. Can you imagine if your entire life was judged in that manner? What if you really messed up when you were younger but you learned from that mistake and became a different person? How would it make you feel if those around you strove to cancel you instead of consult and assist you?
We live in a developing culture that picks through the past only to use it as a means to say, “See! See! You are evil and here is the proof!!” If we are to understand the individual and the communities that comprise America, we need to widen our aperture and view the larger picture. We need to recognize that the political system designed with a constitution that possessed the flexibility to change actually did change. We live in a country so free that those who possess the most freedom can express how much they hate the institution that provides them that freedom without ever risking one ounce of blood to defend their very words.
Why? Because such a person can rely on the countless oceans of blood shed by those that wore and are still wearing the uniforms of our Armed Services. Is America perfect? No! Why? Because it is composed of imperfect humans who make mistakes but also comprises those who make mistakes, learn from them and strive to be better. I’m proud to be an American and I’m proud to defend it in words and deeds. As we approach July 4th, please fly your flags proudly and take the time to read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Refreshing our memories and reflecting back on the early days of this Republic will help all of us realize how free we truly are.
Mr. Sanders is commander of American Legion Post 803 in Southold.