This is the greatest country on earth. The best democracy. The most freedom. America is the greatest place in the entire universe!
That’s what I’ve heard from the mouths of white people my whole life. That’s what I read in the school books. That’s what I hear in the national anthem. That’s what I see on television and in the movies.
All my life, the assumption that America is the Greatest Country Ever has permeated my world as if it were another element in the air we breath. Now I get it! All those white people were right!
I have officially deleted all my skepticism about the United States of America and its great democratic experiment. America is the greatest country on earth! Anyone can rise up and become president of the United States! A man born five months before me, President Obama, is living proof!
Before President Obama, I couldn’t relate when white people said things like, “I support our president,” or “I’m doing it for America because I love this country.”
Now I get it. I love America like every white person who has ever loved America!
More than ever, I’m grateful to have been born in America.
America is more than the sum of the actions and beliefs of any one person, race or group.
America truly is the great democratic experiment, the first place in human history where human rights have had this much dialogue at the table, pretty much at all times.
Consider this: the fact that our founding fathers talked about and struggled with the issue of slavery was actually progress. A breakthrough even.
Given what we know about successive generations becoming more tolerant than previous generations, think the grandfathers of America’s founding fathers were as conflicted about things like slavery?
Before America, human rights for anyone, let alone everyone, was an alien thought, relatively speaking.
Before America, kings, queens, warlords (and other religious deities) created the law of the land (because it is written in the stars).
Before America, there was little or no upward mobility in society for anyone, regardless of skin color or personal aptitude.
America was not only a new world, America was a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at the world, a new way of looking at human beings and their individual rights. Those bold ideas have evolved to become more and more inclusive and universal, which is why the world still looks to America as its beacon of hope.
Now I get it.
By becoming a living example, President Obama has shown me that America is a beacon of hope for all of us, even us black folk who are the descendants of the men and women who were slaves but a few generations ago.
I love America. I no longer feel like its stepchild. I love my president. I support my president. I feel the same as every white person who’s ever heard utter the words, “I love my country.”
That as much as anything makes me proud to be an American.