Robert Samuelson for Independence Day–Love of Country

If you asked my true religion, I would not answer anything practiced in a church, synagogue or mosque. My real religion is America, and I feel privileged that, among the world’s 7 billion people, I am one of the roughly 300 million lucky enough to be an American. This transcends mere patriotism. I believe in what this country stands for, even though I acknowledge its limits and failures. As individuals, we are no better than most (selfishness and prejudice having survived). As a society, we have often violated our loftiest ideals (starting with the acceptance of slavery in 1787). Our loud insistence of “exceptionalism” offends millions of non-Americans, who find us exceptional only in our relentless boasting.

But these caveats do not dim my love of country. I am still stirred by “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I think our messy mixture of democratic traditions, respect for the individual, and economic dynamism commands a unique place in human history. In most societies, people are marked by where they were born, their ethnic heritage or religious conviction. In the United States, these are secondary. Americans’ self-identity springs from the beliefs on which this country was founded, including the belief that no one is automatically better than anyone else simply by virtue of birth.

Our reverence for these ideals remains a touchstone….

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

One comment on “Robert Samuelson for Independence Day–Love of Country

  1. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “My real religion is America . . . ”


    Once one places America at the center of one’s meaning and idolatry, one loses the honor of the actual meaning of America’s ideals, which are founded in Judeo-Christian values. Being a true American means that we do *not* idolize the decisions of our country, and that sometimes we challenge them.

    I do feel privileged to have been born in this time and in this place, particularly as a woman — I don’t know of any other country or time where women had the privileges and the ability to succeed that we do.

    RE: “I believe in what this country stands for. . . ”

    Well . . . I do believe in what this country *stood* for and am eager for our leaders and for the Church to return to those principles and values.