This July 4, Love America … in Spite of Everything

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, paved the way for more guns in the streets and ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the authority to … protect the environment. 

Inflation is spiraling out of control. 

America is powerless to stop the massacre of civilians in Ukraine. 

Texas is preparing a referendum to secede from the United States.

And new evidence shows that our last president is probably guilty of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government. 

This weekend, meanwhile, is July 4, and you are expected to celebrate being an American. 

Think about what all this catastrophe means. Take the EPA ruling: It means that if you care about the environment, the government of the United States of America doesn’t really have your back. The Second Amendment rights ruling: It means that more people will be carrying guns around in public, making it more likely that you or someone you love will be shot. The Hobby Lobby decision: It means that your boss can dictate what kind of health care you’re allowed to have. The decision on Roe? It tells us that our government believes that women’s reproductive rights are not a right after all. 

And all of these decisions were made by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court — a court that was only possible because Republicans took an unprecedented step and denied President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy an entire year before the election, insisting that the seat remain vacant until after voters had their say. 

In short: The government is not looking out for you. In fact, it seems like they’re doing everything they can to make your life harder. So why would you want to celebrate America this July 4?

America is still … Great-ish. Great-esque. Great-adjacent.

Now, here’s the thing: you can’t just not celebrate America on the Fourth of July. That’s un-American. But you can protest. You can use your voice and your vote to make it clear that this is not the America you want to live in. That’s what patriotism looks like in 2022. It’s not waving a flag; it’s fighting for the country you believe in. 

And if you’re not feeling very patriotic or proud of America this July 4, you’re not alone. In fact, you might be more American than ever.

It’s perfectly natural to feel disappointed and even angry when your country isn’t living up to its ideals. Patriotism doesn’t mean blindly supporting your country no matter what it does. True patriotism is holding your country accountable and demanding that it live up to its principles. 

But what are those principles? Does America really have any? 

Can we even agree on what they are? 

The answer is yes, we can. And that’s what makes us truly American.

American Ideals

Our country was founded on the idea that all people are created equal and deserve certain inalienable rights. These include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

We also believe in freedom of speech, religion and the press; the right to a fair trial; and equality under the law. 

These are the principles that make America great. And it is patriotic to fight for these principles, even when our country isn’t living up to them.

What you can do

Here are some things you can do:

1. Remember that America is a work in progress. We’ve always been imperfect, and we always will be. But we’re also constantly striving to be better. So don’t give up on us just yet.

2. Focus on the good. Yes, there’s a lot of bad news out there. But there’s also a lot of good. There are people working hard every day to make America a better place. Find them and support them however you can.

3. Get involved yourself. Don’t just sit around complaining about how terrible everything is; you could be part of the solution. Volunteer for a local charity, run for office, join a protest. Whatever you do, make your voice heard.

4. Be thankful for what we do have. We may not have perfect health care or gun control or environmental protections, but we do have a lot of freedoms and rights that other countries don’t have. So be grateful for what we do have — and fight to make it even better.

5. Celebrate America’s diversity. One of the things that makes America great is our diversity. We’re a country of immigrants, of different races and religions and backgrounds. Embrace that diversity and use it to make America even stronger.

6. Use your Fourth of July barbecue as an opportunity to express the positive, to tell people what you love about America in spite of its flaws. And don’t forget the fireworks! Even in the darkest of times, they remind us that there’s always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

7. Finally, don’t give up. America has been through a lot in its two-plus centuries, and we’ve always come out stronger in the end. So keep fighting for the country you believe in — because it’s worth it.

What about … you know.

What about the Americans who don’t even seem to understand what America means? Those “Americans” make up around forty percent of the country. Are they really Americans?

The answer is that they are. Just like you can’t pick your family, you can’t pick your fellow Americans. You don’t have to love them. You can even hate them. You need to understand them, though. Because they are part of America, too.

So this Fourth of July, if you’re not feeling very patriotic, don’t worry. You’re still an American. You should celebrate America by fighting for her, for the America you believe in. Because that’s what true patriotism looks like. Fight for the principles that make her great. Never give up hope that one day she will live up to them, and use that to inspire you to make America even better. 


Content by Audere. Image by Pexels.