I really like essays that get to the heart of all of my knotty, anxious, hopefull, tearing-my-hair-out-frustrated, feelings.
I believe we have to judge every American decision in the context of every other American decision. The United States is a country that has progressed greatly since land-holding, slave-owning white males created it and excluded everybody else from enjoying their freedoms. Of course, almost every American citizen enjoys those original freedoms now, but only because of two centuries of social and legal activism. The United States should receive the Most Improved Country award! But I believe we have improved despite our limited, immoral, and inept politicians. I believe the greatness of our country is not measured by its willingness to go to war or by its ability to win wars, but by its painters, construction workers, poets, factory engineers, novelists, chefs, filmmakers, architects, musicians, social workers, actors, teachers, and other nonviolent dreamers. I believe our country is great not because we've often been fundamentalist and isolationist in our thinking, but because we've gradually and often reluctantly learned to celebrate the complex chemistry of immigration and assimilation. The average American citizen in 2003 is more educated, kinder, and more progressive than the average citizen of any other time in our country's history.
This also gets to the heart of why I am a liberal and why liberals don't--and can't--hate America. It is living here that enables us to see our both our failures and our victories and the endless possibility buried in both.