As reported in the Washington Examiner, the Communist Party activists who burned two American flags outside the White House on July 4th also called for a “world without America.” This is nothing new. America’s enemies, from the USSR to Iran, have long called for our demise. Internally, red diaper babies and their parents, unions, Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter activists, Occupy Wall Street squatters, home-grown Islamic terrorists, La Raza agitators, social justice warriors and economic justice 99 percenters, hippies and hipsters, progressives and liberals, and too many in the Democratic Party have long inveighed against our existence. In their eyes, we are oppressors, suppressors, repressors; colonists, racists, sexists; homophobes, transphobes, Islamophobes. Our leaders are despots and dictators. Our capitalist ways breed the kind of greed that only benefits the 1% at the top of the capitalist food chain. Our corporations — the spawn of vile capitalism — serve only the malign purposes of enslaving the masses and killing us off with the medication, food, and energy they produce. Nothing good comes from greedy corporations, seems to be the mantra of Elizabeth Warren, Sandy O, Nancy Pelosi and, sadly, the rest of the DNC. And yet… they take their contributions, lobby on their behalf, and use their products despite such protestations.
As a whole, we are haters and the world would be a better place without us. But would it really be?
First of all, rational-thinking individuals understand that this picture of America just doesn’t jive with the reality that millions of people from all over the world of all races, creeds, religions, and genders, including homosexuals and transgendered individuals, sacrifice everything to reach our land. America’s immigrants understand what it is to leave true hate, true oppression, and true poverty in the rearview mirror. They would not make the journey, even contemplate it, to be less free, less secure, and more impoverished.
Secondly, while it’s impossible to know for sure what kind of scientific, technological, and political progress would have come about in a world without America, or when those advances would have occurred relative to when they actually occurred, or to know what kind of cultural changes the world would have undergone without a United States, suffice it to say that our contributions in all of these categories have been legion and consequential for the planet as whole, not just our nation. Without penicillin, oil, flight, our technological and engineering feats, the assembly line, capitalism, freedom of the press, speech and religion, our military prowess vanquishing Nazism and communism, and on and on, the world would not be where it is today without America.
I can already hear our progressive pals scoffing and guffawing over my praises for American ingenuity and advancement. Silly Sally! What about the pollution, carbon footprint, illness and death, oppression and exploitation of foreign lands for their unique natural resources and labor that America’s greed, capitalism, and yearnings have wrought? I’ll admit, there is no problem we solve that doesn’t create other problems — sometimes horrific ones like slavery or the destruction of Native American cultures. Although cheap labor abroad is better for the American consumer and elevates the standard of living for many in those nations, it admittedly creates new problems for both societies. Opposing political factions can agree on at least that much.
However, at least in America, we have judicial and political systems that provide us with ways of redressing our ills, allowing us to improve our lot. It isn’t perfect and it thankfully isn’t static. It is dynamic and flexible and responsive and is perhaps America’s most unique asset relative to all other nations. Even to this day, there are precious few sovereignties that can boast the same. If there were, wouldn’t we all be moving there?
This ability to self-correct and evolve undoubtedly stems from the constitutional system of checks and balances, federalism, individualism, freedom, and capitalism conjured up by a few dozen white men with silly suits and powdered wigs. They weren’t perfect. Nor did they ever say they were. In fact, if you peruse the writings of the Founders — even the least known of them, in their personal correspondences as well as in formal documents like the Federalist Papers — were acutely aware of our individual and collective human frailties — you know, better angels and all, mob rule, greed, avarice, and so forth. And that applied to the wealthiest, whitest male landowner in the aristocracy to the lowliest black slave and poorest white European indentured servant. Understand me clearly: I’m not saying they were treated equally at the time but that the Founders understood that each human being — slave or landowner — had strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities, and evil proclivities as well as good intentions. It was their study of and understanding of human nature that lies at the very basis of the entire constitutional structure they erected. They viewed America in biblical and eschatological terms — as the Promised Land. They knew if properly cared for and abided by, it was a document for all eternity.
Finally, if there were no America, none of us would be here. We’d either be a British colony or an amalgam of colonies from various European nations. Who knows, decolonization might never have occurred and the world might still be ruled by British and continental European hegemons. Or perhaps, indigenous Americans might have been able to fight off the invasion, keeping America for itself. Perhaps decolonization would have happened anyway, only if it did, the end result would certainly not be the America we have today. That’s because what we are today is undoubtedly the byproduct of those particular Founders at that particular time, given the particular circumstances they were in, guided by the particular education and life experiences and individual talents they each possessed. If “America” was formed out of a late 19th century or mid-20th century group of guys and gals, it would be profoundly different from the America that emerged from 1776.
Either way, it’s unlikely any of us would be here. I know my forebears would not have left the many European nations they inhabited to seek the American Dream, to have an opportunity to get an education, practice their religion, live in peace. And my husband never would have escaped the yoke of communism to come here. You see, like it or not and despite our history of slavery of black Americans and bigotry towards Irish, Jewish, Asian, black, Hispanic, and native Americans, what you got in America — if nothing more than just the opportunity to try to make it — was light-years better than staying behind in your homeland, no matter how familiar the traditions, the food, the culture, the people, the landscape, the smells, and the sights.
And for that reason alone — despite all of our mistakes and missteps as a nation — is why a world without America is a world none of us would want to live in.