National unity dwindles, complaints become norm

On September 12th, 1814, the British Navy initiated a siege of Fort McHenry against a smaller and less equipped American force. The siege lasted for three days, but the American force managed to hold the fort against all odds. Waving above the fort was the flag of the United States of America, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner”. That same flag would be raised on the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945, and would be pulled from the wreckage of the twin towers on September 11, 2001. However, today that Star Spangled Banner burns both at home and abroad.

Why is it that many people refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance? Why can’t a growing number of Americans differentiate between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? What ever happened to the sense of national pride and unity amongst the American people? It seems that today a sense of apathy, indifference, and discontent permeates the country. It is disheartening to see so many people turn against the virtues of our nation, especially given the realities of our modern world.

When we look around the world today, it seems that chaos and danger exist everywhere. There are those in the world who live on the ideals of hatred and evil, who seek to prey upon the innocent and the weak. The United States, occupying its prominent global status as a superpower, is at times forced to take a stand against those evils in order to ensure the freedoms of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” not only for the citizens of the United States, but for the denizens of the world. That is what our nation stands for, and will continue to stand for as we push further into the uncertain future of this world. Yet, an increasing number of American citizens seem to have lost sight of these ideals. We have become so complacent and self satisfied, because our country guarantees our rights and liberties, we sometimes forget that isn’t the case in all parts of the world, and it becomes easy to complain about comparatively trivial things. Our sense of national pride, unity, and direction, is dwindling away because more Americans are unable to grasp the realities of our world. Yes, we may have problems as a country, and it is good thing to be critical of the government, because we are blessed enough to live in a country that affords us the right to express ourselves and speak out against our government. Doing so is actually good, because the power comes from the people, and it is comforting to know that we have a voice in our country. However, it seems that the trend today has expanded beyond healthy expression into pointless complaining. One of my teachers once told me that every time I criticize an argument, I have to provide a solution to the problem, or I’m doing nothing more than exacerbating the problem without coming any closer to solving it. It seems that many Americans today are more willing to complain than actually try to come up with solutions themselves.

Even though there are some things that people have a right to be upset about, those emotions should be used to productive ends, rather than manifesting themselves into a hatred of this country. I can’t count the times I’ve seen American flags being flown upside down (a symbol of national distress), people not standing for the pledges, or students being unable to recount the basic republican ideals of our nation. Maybe what we need to do is take pride in our national heritage, and honor our legacy as American people. We must never forget that the freedoms we enjoy are only secured by the lifeblood and sacrifice of men and women across the world, fighting to defend our liberty against those who seek to take it from us. We should not blindly follow our country or our government, but we should at least give the proper respect due to our nation and the ideas that it stands for. So next time someone doesn’t stand for the pledge, or take their hat off for the national anthem, remember to have, if anything, some semblance of respect for the country in which you live.

God bless the world, God bless Chick-fil-A, and God bless America.