Blog: Happy Birthday, America

Burt Ross

The Fourth of July is coming up soon, and many of us will be celebrating our nation’s birthday just as John Adams predicted we would over 200 years ago. We have so many reasons to celebrate, despite what the naysayers think. For one, I am sick and tired of hearing that idiotic slogan, “Make America Great Again.” This is a great nation already. Oh yes, we can make it even greater, but nobody —including Donald Trump — can make it great when it already is.

I am not saying we are the greatest country on the face of the planet, although that is exactly how I feel. I recognize people from other countries love their homelands just as much as we love ours. It’s a little bit like how you might feel about your parents. They may be great parents, but there is no need to tell everybody else they are the best in the world.

What other country provides such natural beauty, ethnic and religious diversity, guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly, press, and worship?  What other country offers such a broad spectrum of cultures with their variety of music, food, dance, humor, and so much more? And how many countries enjoy a higher standard of living than we do?  

And never forget we enjoy freedom of movement. If we choose to live elsewhere, and not many of our citizens do, it is our right. All we have to do is catch a plane or a boat or just start walking out of here. There are no fences to keep us in, at least not yet. People all over the world try to get here, and many risk their lives in the process. There is a simple reason: We are a great country. 

Few countries provide the opportunity for upward mobility like America does. I frequent a restaurant in Beverly Hills, where the waiter, an immigrant from Mexico, tells me about his two children. One child recently graduated Brown, and his other child now attends Harvard. Both children attended college on scholarships

Just look what has happened in this country during my lifetime alone. African Americans have gained rights which had been denied them since slavery; gays and lesbians are gaining acceptance in much of the country, and the Supreme Court recently recognized their legitimate right to marry; people with physical limitations have rights such as barrier-free access; the two United States Senators from California are women, and women more than ever before are breaking through the glass ceiling; and on and on. Do we want to make America “great again” when these rights did not exist until recently, or do we want to celebrate the hard-earned rights more of us enjoy now than ever before?

And so, as the election moves into its final months, and all we hear every hour every day is what is wrong with our country, let’s take one day, July 4, and try to have some perspective and to appreciate all we have. And on July 5, we can once again complain about everything, including our government — because that too is our right.