Following Trump’s Independence Day speech, it’s interesting to read the debates on social media about hating and loving our country. I believe there are very few people living in the USA who "hate" this country. I think the reason we have so much discord on the subject is because people define "love of country" in different ways.
For some, our country is the land -- the spacious skies and purple mountains and all those thing we sing about in "America The Beautiful."
Others love our country for its people. America is a true melting pot made up of humans of all origins, all religions, all races, all walks of life. Collectively, our people make America more interesting and our culture richer by virtue of their differences.
My father, a WWII veteran, taught me to love and be proud of my country because it stands for democracy, epitomizes freedom and is a model for other countries to aspire to.
Still others love America for the principles upon which it was founded -- that all men (and women) are created equal and have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
HOWEVER, these precious traits that the United States of America has long stood for are in peril.
So many of our leaders place no value on our public lands other than the profit it can bring to greedy corporations. They're willing to mow down our forests and drill off our shores, all the while ignoring climate change that's accelerating at a rate I thought I'd never experience in my lifetime.
Some people don't love the diversity of our cultures and races and religions; instead they fear it.
We've lost our leadership position in the world by undermining democracy, abandoning our allies, adopting cruel and inhumane practices and not doing our part to protect our precious natural resources.
Furthermore, the American Dream isn't working out so well for many in the U.S. Nearly 40 million Americans live below the poverty level, one in six children lives in a food-insecure household, and black lives seem not to matter as much as white lives.
IF WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY, then each and every one of us has a DUTY TO COME TOGETHER AS ONE NATION to defend our precious lands, stand up for our brothers and sisters until there is liberty and justice for all, and demand that our elected leaders work to restore and protect our great democracy and position in the world.
Editor's note: Martin is a Newton native with many relatives still living in Catawba County.
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