It started with a bus and a curb. Independence Day is one of my very favorite holidays and on that day, every year my quaint little town pulls out all the stops to celebrate our freedom. We start with a parade (well, for the early risers they get to start their celebration with a pancake breakfast) and move on from there. My grandkids and I go down the afternoon before and stake our spot. We change every few years but this year was the same as last. Our chairs get placed at the curb and the games come out of the bag. There are usually snacks to go along with the games. Now, there we sit and play for the next few hours, waiting for six o’clock. At six we put our names on the chairs, tie them together with red, white and blue ribbon and go home to get a good night’s rest.
About midway through the streams of kids’ sports teams, dogs, horses and floats there was a BIG BLACK BUS. I had never seen a bus in the parade and this one had a picture of the Statue of Liberty emblazoned on the side. America: Imagine the World without Her, has finally been released in theaters.
I thought, “What better day to ponder that question than Independence Day?”
Someone once observed, “America is great because she is good; if she ever ceases to be good she will cease to be great.” Today that notion of the essential goodness of America is under attack, replaced by another story in which theft and plunder are seen as the defining features of American history – from the theft of Native American and Mexican lands and the exploitation of African labor to a contemporary foreign policy said to be based on stealing oil and a capitalist system that robs people of their ‘fair share’. Our founding fathers warned us that, although the freedoms they gave us were hard fought, they could very easily be lost. America stands at a crossroads and the way we understand our past will determine our future.
Now, there’s the rub. We have people in America who would love to CHANGE Her. I am old enough to remember when there was rarely a meeting of more than a handful of people where we didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. When we said the pledge or an American flag went by we put our hands on our hearts and the men actually took off their hats. That’s respect; respect for a flag that stands for a country that STANDS. America has fought in almost every land, not to conquer them but to free them. Not to plunder and steal but to add value.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the men who created this incredible movie. Dinesh D’Souza is an immigrant from India. He and John Sullivan wrote the screenplay and directed this amazing documentary. Dinesh also wrote the book and produced this film.
America takes 21st century Americans into the future by first visiting our past. This movie exemplifies and echoes the reasons and passionate feelings most Americans still have today. I have to admire the many early grade educators who still hold to the truths about America. My four grandchildren had teachers who taught them well. As Americans we need to insist that our colleges and universities hold fast to American exceptionalism. If you are faltering in your belief of that, I challenge you to see the movie, America: Imagine the World without Her.
As always, I invite your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.