It is easy for many to look at our country’s current state of affairs with such despair that they approach the future with trepidation and foreboding. For them, only a rose colored memory of the past offers joy for America. Nonsense.
It is true that we face resurgent adversaries abroad, exposed racial divides, a frustratingly slow economic recovery, and bitter political polarization. But we have overcome far greater perils and divisions before and we will prevail in these difficult times as well.
In our search for a better nation, let us not forget to count our blessings.
A new generation of young men and women in uniform – volunteers all – tempered by the horrors of 9/11 stand watch today over our safety around the globe. In doing so, they join an unbroken line of Americans stretching from Lexington to Afghanistan who have stepped into harm’s way.
The American ideals of individual liberty and rights derived from God were born in revolution, survived a bloody civil war, won out in two world wars, proved more powerful than our adversaries in the Cold War, and still offer the world its best hope in the 21st century against those forces who would slide mankind back into the Dark Ages.
Our strength, however, is not merely measured by our force of arms. We are among the most charitable people on Earth both to our own people and to our fellow men and women around the world. Wherever and whenever there is human tragedy or suffering, America rushes in with aid as we have recently in Africa to combat the Ebola crisis.
The racial strife unleashed by the events in Ferguson, Missouri should not allow us to forget how far we have come in the past fifty years. Jim Crow, fire hoses, and Governors standing in the doorways of schools or holding pick handles in restaurants are confined to the history books. We have a long way to go before we reach Martin Luther King’s dream but we should not forget the journey we have made together so far.
Our higher education is the envy of the world. Of the twenty top universities, seventeen reside in the United States. Over 17 million Americans are seeking higher education today. Among them, 57% are women and over 30% are minorities. The world’s best and brightest from around the world still clamor to come to the United States to learn and be a part of our future. These universities, colleges, and technical schools and the people they educate will fuel our future industries, technologies, and innovations.
For all of its all too apparent weaknesses in the news today, we still maintain a stable republic and a durable Constitution that has served our needs for over 225 years.
There is much to be done and tomorrow we should resume our struggle to meet the challenges before us together with the confidence and boldness that defines us as a great people. For today, however, let us count our blessings.