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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Scared but Beautiful

<ir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-8de69274-309d-fea1-c176-2a1351a8efd8">To proclaim one’s love of America is at times a hazardous venture, particularly in an environment like that of a liberal arts college. To some, such a statement is an indication of historical ignorance, meaning that a love for this nation is only possible if one is unaware of or unconcerned with its past ills and shortcomings. For others, loving America means ignoring the plight of those marginalized groups of people that still find themselves in a cycle of struggle and suffering. I understand those sentiments, but I cannot accept them. I know where this country has fallen short in the past and I know that much more needs to be done to ensure that the American Dream is attainable for all. Yet, I’m also an unabashed patriot who refuses to be ashamed of my love for this nation, for its values and for its people.

The United States, as it is often said, began as an unlikely experiment. Never before had a country been established with the notions of freedom and equality as founding principles. In our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution, the Founding Fathers enshrined the notion that all of us are naturally endowed with rights, irrespective of what a government may decree. The state, therefore, doesn’t exist to grant freedoms, but rather exists to protect those freedoms from encroachment by the state itself. Such principles, as radical and revolutionary as they were back then, are now seen as the norm in our nation, norms that have been protected and preserved by blood and toil.

It is true that, for far too long, the beautiful ideals laid out in our founding documents did not extend to large swaths of this nation’s population. The obstacles to full inclusion often seemed insurmountable, and those barriers tainted the image of America as a country where all were not only welcome but able to succeed through their own merit. Yet, that in no way undermines the importance of the aforementioned founding values. Those ideals give us an end to achieve, a vision to look forward to. We shouldn’t focus on being ashamed of our history, but rather be proud of all the progress that we have brought about.

This country, for example, does a phenomenal job compared to other industrialized nations when it comes to integrating immigrant communities. The employment rate for immigrants in the United States is higher than that of any major European country. By giving our immigrants the opportunity to more easily attain employment, we give them the ability to empower themselves and their families, and it is this sense of empowerment that lies in the heart and soul of America. We are a nation that understands the importance of individuality, that the way to achieve desirable outcomes is to create the conditions via which the inherent uniqueness of every citizen can be expressed in the greatest possible degree.

It should come as no surprise then that this country is the most entrepreneurial nation on Earth by a wide margin. We are a nation of risk takers and innovators, and we have created a system through our laws and regulations that allows such dynamism to flourish. As long as we continue to nurture such a setting, then the essence of America will never be lost. It is this essence that drives this nation to incessantly challenge itself to improve, to do things precisely because they are difficult, to accomplish feats that defy expectations but enrich the world in unimaginable ways.

Let us remember that this country is ultimately defined by the citizenry that inhabits it and the values nurtured within it. Regardless of how boisterous and demagogic those seeking power may be, they can never undermine the beautiful character of these United States, a character defined by freedom, strength and fearlessness.

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