Why Do You Love Your Country?

(Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

I wasn’t always politically conservative. I was raised in a household of classically liberal Democrats and I espoused those same classical liberal views until roughly my early thirties. (Truth be told, I still do, as I have some libertarian leanings, and much of what I consider traditional liberalism has given way to progressive leftism.) But I’ve always loved our country. Those same family members instilled in me a keen patriotism, love of our history, respect for our founders, and appreciation for the unique gift that is America.

Years ago, while mixing it up on a political message board that leaned left, the question was put to me by a leftward-leaning poster: Why do you love your country?  On this, our Independence Day, and the celebration of 245 years of liberty and prosperity, it only seems fitting to share:

There are many reasons. I love the principles upon which it was founded. I love the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — the words themselves and the ideas enshrined in them.

I love that the men who authored those documents valued liberty and recognized the perils of concentrated power enough to attempt to guard against them in a way that, while imperfect, has enabled millions of people to thrive and prosper, while enjoying a degree of freedom previously unknown.

I love that we elect our leaders — as imperfect (and frustrating) a process as that often is.

I love that millions of people have made a point to come HERE because of the opportunities this country holds.

I love that we have a beautiful country full of wonders both natural and man-made and we can travel about it freely.

I love that American ingenuity has led to a wide array of discoveries, inventions and innovations.

I love that you and I can see things totally differently and express that freely.

I’m well aware that our country is far from perfect. I don’t agree with everything we’ve ever done as a nation. I know there’s more than ample room for improvement. But — I guess I see it sort of like many of us regard a family member — imperfect, flawed, but beautiful and beloved.

All of that still holds true today. Perhaps even more so in the face of extraordinary pressure to tear it all down — from without and within.  What we have here — what we’ve built — no one will ever persuade me it isn’t worthy of our love, appreciation, and celebration.

Wishing you all a happy and free Independence Day.