The DNC has done a pretty funny thing to Donald Trump. Noting the lack of pride in our country in Donald Trump campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" and its ironic popularity among the "America, Fuck Yeah" crowd, the Democratic Party introduced their own hat to mock The Donald. "America is Already Great", it reads.
When I saw that, I thought it was a pretty good way to troll Donald Trump and express pride in both our country and the accomplishments of the Obama administration.
Boy was I wrong! America isn't great! It sucks! As a University of North Carolina student proletariat says,
Are you fucking kidding me? Saying America is great means everything - all social ills and all foreign blunders (I'll deal with "imperialism" in a moment) - are great? We're not allowed to love our country because there are systemic issues that we need to keep working on to forever move towards a more perfect union? And because why, we're liberals?
See, this is why hippies need to be punched sometimes. It is as though any praise of this country has to be hit back, brought down, and torn down. You are especially not allowed to feel good about America if you are a liberal.
Bull. Shit. This is why I am not afraid of the label "hippie punching". If this is hippie, punching is well deserved.
Liberals should feel especially good about America because it is liberal ideas that have made our country great. It is liberal struggle that has moved us towards a more perfect union. And it is liberal action that has guided this country to overcome many of the worst strains of bigotry that has tainted this country's history.
From abolitionists to those who marched for suffrage, from organized labor to civil rights, from the path of equal rights for LGBT Americans to the struggle of immigrants are all part of a broader American story every American can and should be proud of: we don't always get it right, but we always renew our promise for a better tomorrow, to keep moving forward.
While we recognize the deep-seated institutional racism and the threat to black and brown lives from that institutionalized racism pervading parts of law enforcement, we should not discount that this country elected and re-elected by large margins its first African American president. Ignoring the pillars of progress that made this possible - from abolition to civil rights to voting rights is a greater injustice to the history of a people than to refuse to recognize the horrid past or to pretend that the scourge of racism is over.
While we condemn xenophobia, we do immigrants more injustice if we do not recognize the greatness of this country - a greatness that immigrants are deeply and intricately responsible for. Whether it's the Chinese-Americans and immigrants who built the rail roads or the largely Latin American immigrants and their children that build our highways or it is the immigrants who fuel today's explosion of consumer technology, generations of immigrants have made this country home, and have made it great.
That our leaders today openly recognize the paradox of the halls of American democracy literally being built by slaves both reminds us of our historical sin and makes us great.
In our foreign adventures, we have often made mistakes. But we have also more often been a force for good. For every Vietnam, there's a Marshall Plan. For every Iraq, there's a Kosovo. We may have a big military budget, but we are also the largest donor of humanitarian aid across the world; in fact, we give more in humanitarian aid than the next six countries and entities combined. Today, under President Obama, we have just made the what the next century will see as the greatest stride towards global peace of our time: the Iran nuclear deal. This president has secured loose nukes around the world, struck diplomatic triumphs and used force only when necessary.
We are not a great country because of our flaws. We are great because of everlasting struggle to correct those flaws and bend the arc of history just a little more towards justice. Anyone who fails to realize this, the greatest strength of our country and the greatest strength of liberalism can neither call themselves a liberal nor understands what America is.
What America is, is this:
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