I hope that all of you had a great Fourth of July and that those of you who are Americans were/are extra proud to be so!
Unfortunately, some of us these days apparently aren't. A recent Gallup poll found, for the first time ever, that fewer than half of adult U.S. citizens (just 47 percent, to be exact) characterize themselves as “extremely proud” to be Americans. If that’s accurate, it’s sad, and I believe that it starts in schools and homes wherein the exceptionality of America no longer is being taught, let alone emphasized.
I believe that America has been a greater force for good than any nation — and a greater force for good than any institution other than Christianity — in all of human history. No, it's not without its historical faults — no nation is without historical faults — but the USA also has done more to rectify its own historical faults, including literally tearing itself apart and pulling itself back together again, than any other nation I've ever studied. Anyone who believes otherwise, in my opinion, simply doesn't have an accurate perspective on human history.
That said, I believe that this is a good time of year even for those of us who are proud to be Americans to ask ourselves why we're so proud? Is it just because we lucked out and were born here? If so, that's kind of like being proud to be anything else with which we had nothing to do — e.g., to have been born with a particular hair/eye/skin color. I believe that being truly proud to be an American is like being proud to be a member of a family — that it means more than simply being born or marrying into something which came with blessings, like the love that one enjoys as a family member or the liberty that one enjoys as an American.
I believe that it means more than just understanding and appreciating worthy attitudes, aspirations, and achievements of people who were in it before you. I believe it means choosing to be part of preserving and building upon those attitudes, aspirations, and achievements, whether you've been born into it or you've chosen to assimilate into it. It means choosing to refrain from behaving in ways which reflect poorly upon it or damage it, certainly, but beyond that, it means choosing to behave in ways which reflect well upon it and which add to it.
In other words, to me, being truly proud to be an American means more than just being glad to be part of something larger than yourself — it means finding a way to make a uniquely positive contribution to it. If you're an American, I hope you feel that way, too — not just around the Fourth of July, but throughout the year — and if you're a parent, I hope that you’re teaching your children why we feel that way.
Brian Russell wanted to learn how people could live together as peacefully and prosperously as possible, so he studied what makes us tick (and got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology), how public policy keeps us in line (and got a law degree), and what motivates us to do our best (and got an M.B.A.). Then, he put theory to the test, practicing both psychology and law, starting his own small businesses, consulting with business leaders and lawmakers, and traveling the world comparing what does and doesn’t work in 40 societies. Now, he shares his expertise in people, public policy, and productivity on national television and radio, in his book, "Stop Moaning, Start Owning: How Entitlement Is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It," and here on Newsmax. Learn more at DrBrianRussell.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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