“With liberty and justice for all.” If I had to pick one phrase to describe America, I think I would choose that. Liberty is what sets us apart from so many other nations. We were founded on the principles of freedom and the ideal of representative democracy. The government works for us; we are their employers. Now, how many countries can you say that about, historically?
As a nation, we have been very lucky. Speaking of history, George Washington was not a king. He voluntarily stepped down from the most powerful office in the entire country. He could have been president for life, but he decided to set the precedent, and this was unheard of at the time. The United States of America would not be a monarchy, and it would not become a dictatorship. It would be, as Abraham Lincoln famously said, a “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people.” This is very significant. From being a student of history, it amazes me at how lucky we are to live in such a great country and we should never take that for granted.
America gives the world hope. If you come here or you are born here, you have a chance. You have a shot at living a good life if you work hard and follow your dreams. For example, my dad has lived the American Dream. He didn’t go to college. He started out as a janitor at the local Pepsi plant about 30 years ago and he worked his way up to what is essentially the second-in-command there. He manages the warehouse and oversees a multi-million dollar budget. Basically, if you enjoy a fine Pepsi product from this area, thank my dad. So, starting from humble circumstances, and then achieving success and living a good, middle-class life: that is the American Dream.
And in America, we are able to live this dream because of many reasons. But I would like to point out a few of the most important ones, in my opinion. We have private property rights, civil liberties like the freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly, a largely free market economy, and the Constitution and the rule of law. We have the right to speak our minds. Even in the modern world, some people are not as fortunate. And let’s not forget the brave men and women of our armed forces who make up the best military in the world. We all truly say: thank you.
The United States of America is the greatest country in the history of human civilization, and I am not ashamed to say that. Our country was founded on freedom, representative democracy, and the idea that if you work hard, you can do anything you set your mind to. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or something else. You are an American. And I am proud to be an American.
Wes Farmer, of Pikeville, is a senior majoring in history/political science and religion. He has participated in the Inside Washington 2011 seminar and the 2011 Gala with the Washington Center and is a member of Eastern Kentucky Young Republicans, Phi Alpha Theta and Theta Alpha Kappa.