I love a lot of things. I love goat cheese. I love pizza and goat cheese on pizza. I love re-watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The Office. I love smoothies and lacrosse players. But more than pretty much anything, I love America. My reverence for this country and all that it represents is something I struggle putting into words.
I’ve lived all 22 years of my life in this country, and still find myself struck with awe at all of its glory. From Native American displacement to slavery to Jim Crow, this country’s past has been far from perfect. And yet there isn’t a day that goes by where I am anything but proud to call myself American.
As a black woman, people are often astounded by my unwavering and enthusiastic allegiance to this country. But as the daughter of a man who grew up in a broken home in appalling poverty, dependent on the government and surrounded by crime, I’ve witnessed firsthand how much is actually possible as an American. Everyday items that my family doesn’t think twice about were luxuries to my father when he was growing up. My dad was lucky if there was bologna in the fridge when he was a child, and now enjoys spoiling his wife and children with steak and lobster dinners. That is nothing short of a miracle, and I will never take for granted how blessed I am to be in a place where miracles are the status quo.
Everybody has an opportunity to become somebody here. Excuses are like assholes, and they’re for them too. We all have a choice to either settle or succeed. And what I love most about this country is seeing people choose to succeed at all costs, no matter how high the odds may be stacked against them.
The establishment of America was a miracle in and of itself, and time after time, we continue to prove to ourselves and the world that there is nothing we are incapable of. We continue to lead, we continue to innovate and we continue to inspire. And as disappointed as I am in the turn that 2016 has taken, I know that the American Dream is alive and well.
While some choose to see the United States as its complicated history, its government or its flaws I choose to see its promise. I choose to see a spirit of infinite possibility and resolve for a brighter and better tomorrow. I choose to be uplifted instead of discouraged and I choose constant, cognizant gratitude.
Enjoy your Fourth, and God Bless America.