Tomorrow’s Independence Day here in the U.S. and my thoughts on America’s 244th birthday can be summed up in what James Baldwin wrote in his introduction to Native Son: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
We’re an imperfect country, but there’s light along the arc of our history. Time and time again, rabble-rousers have pushed and prodded our nation toward a newer, improved version of itself. It started in 1776 with a gang of colonial terrorists. And it continues today with thousands speaking out against racism.
In many ways, things right now in the U.S. appear bleak. Yet I’m optimistic about this country’s future because I know we have rabble-rousers lighting our path forward. To paraphrase Baldwin, these folks love their nation enough to criticize it, to demand that it be better.
Happy birthday, America,
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