By Arthur H. Gunther III
The president gives his State of the Nation address in January; we the people take stock July 4, our collective birthday, though most of us cannot trace American roots back to then.
So what is the State of the Nation as we near July 4, 2012? There are the scary negatives: Colorado fires, power outages in and around Washington, D.C., extreme heat across the country; unemployment; foreclosures; special interests that lobby not for the people; banks sitting on investment capital; Afghanistan and an extended, overworked military; and a deficit that if we had that amount for cash might wipe cancer out and provide college or post-high school training for all.
The positives: freedom, despite an overreach of rules and regulations since 9/11; Horatio Alger opportunity still works, though as always, with some sweat and luck; front-porch values there for the application; freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly; freedom from want, freedom from fear; 236 years of group and personal sacrifice through war, slavery, the immigrant experience; birth of cities and suburbs and our rural land and their endurance; the ballot box opportunity, the better leaders among us and government when it works; and acceptance of the Churchill dictum: “… Democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried.”
So, as we soon gather to have our July Fourth rest, picnics, fireworks and fun, we see the balance in this land still tipped in favor of what democracy, however imperfect, can do, has done, will do.
On Jan. 6, 1941, in an address to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told us: “Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change -- in a perpetual peaceful revolution -- a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions -- without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”
A better statement of this USA there is not.