It is far too easy when discussing politics to get dragged into the dirt. To have your view muddied and dirtied until you see only the negatives. This is not necessarily a bad thing. How else are we to try to improve what is broken? But it is a limiting perspective. The news doesn’t help. We read of tragedies and crises, peril and hatred. This series of articles has been no different; we’ve viewed the future of America through a lens of partisan conflict and thinly disguised bigotry. But that’s not the whole story. So for this, the final article in my series, I want to leave you with something different. I want to tell you why I love America.
Because I do love America. Truly, deeply, and with all my heart. It is my home, from my birth until my death. There is no place else I would rather live; no place else I hold in higher regard. I do not hesitate to say that the United States of America is the greatest country on the face of the earth, and it is with nothing but the utmost pride that I am able to utter the words “I am an American.”
There are many things that make America as amazing as it is. Our devotion to liberty, our history as the world’s oldest and most storied democracy, and our breathtaking national parks. Today, however, I want to focus on one thing in particular, that which this whole series has been about: Diversity. America is perhaps the most diverse nation to ever exist in the history of humanity. We comprise people from around the globe. Within a matter of decades, the third-largest country on earth will be a majority-minority country. This is unprecedented in the history of humanity.
Of course, America is by no means a perfect country, nor would I ever claim it to be so. But as we’ve discussed, so many of these issues can be traced back to our diversity. It is the price we pay, but it is a trade I would take any day. One of my biggest pet peeves is liberals holding up European countries (especially Nordic countries) as examples of superior countries. “Why can’t we have healthcare like Sweden?” they ask. “Why can’t we be more like Norway?” they ask. Certainly, these countries are not bad, and their policies are indeed great, but the implementation of their policies is facilitated by their homogeny. These are not diverse countries, and they would not be the same today if they were. It’s easy not to be racist when there is no one to be racist to. It’s not uncommon in European politics to see far-right parties embrace universal healthcare, but to do so in conjunction with strict immigration policies. The message is clear: universal healthcare, but not for brown people. Do not mistake liberal policies for liberal attitudes. The European migrant crisis of the last decade has laid this all clear. The sudden appearance of millions of people from North Africa and the Middle East was met with a surge of far-right parties and the near implosion of some countries (*cough* UK *cough*). Racism is a problem of exposure to diversity, and no country has experienced as much exposure as the US.
It can sometimes seem as if the US lags behind the rest of the world, but in reality, the opposite is true. We are pioneering the future. We are creating a truly global and accepting country in a way that no one else ever has. Yes, our policies are often less progressive than other countries, but as I have already mentioned this is due to our diversity. Healthcare, gun control, zoning policies, abortion rights; all of it is deeply mired in our struggle with diversity.
The path is not an easy one. The election of Donald Trump should make that clear enough, but America has persisted in the past and will continue to do so today. Our history is one defined by progress in the face of hardship and bigotry. I have faith that America will emerge from this episode stronger for it; that we will continue to lead the world. I understand how hard it can be to be hopeful in these times, but I implore you to try. We are moving forward as we always have. We have no national language, no state religion. American is not an ethnicity, only a nationality. One defined by your capacity for freedom and acceptance. The Great American Experiment of our founding lives on but in a new form. No longer is it just about democracy; democracy has proven itself around the world. Instead, it’s about democracy AND diversity. It’s about learning to break down the barriers between peoples and build a nation in the image of a truly global community.
This is a journey we take together. Not all those who express hatred or bigotry are beyond redemption. Nor should we seek to cast them out or proclaim them as nothing more than ignorant racists. They are folly to the same vices that afflict us all. Jealousy and envy, fear and anger. They are just as American as anyone else, and we should treat them as such. Don’t just lambast them for their disagreements; instead, help them to understand. We all share the same goal: To make America a better place. For all our differences as to what exactly this might mean, we all do so with the same reverence and love for the concept that is America.
I leave you with this. While diversity might be the source of our hardship, it is also a source of our greatest national beauty. Even when times feel dark and it looks as if we are sliding backwards, I urge you to remain hopeful. The path we walk is treacherous, and we will never emerge unscathed, but I never doubt that it is the correct path. It is with unwavering faith that I can say “I love America.”