WHAT DOES AMERICA MEAN? How many times have you heard people or songs say “I love America!” or “God bless America,” or something along those lines this month? As you’ve listened, have you heard the conviction in their voice, seen the passion in their eyes? I have. In my opinion, we should hear these words more, all throughout the year.

Recently, I have also heard and seen people verbally attack America and everything that represents it, including the Flag, the Anthem, and -most importantly- the Founding Documents.[1]

But when saying something about America, favorably or unfavorably, we need to ask ourselves some key questions.

What does America mean? What do those representations tell us about America?

When we say “I love America,” do we mean the land? The “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains,” the beautiful, plentiful, awe-inspiring land and all the different biomes from “sea to shining sea?” As glorious as this continent is, I’ve been to places just as awestriking outside of America. I wouldn’t love America less for being smaller. America isn’t just Land.

What about the people? The quiet, the loud, the funny, the serious, the achiever, the couch potato, the nice, the rude, the one who will always help us out and those who cut us off on the road? As much as I firmly believe that there are good people worth fighting for everywhere, and as much as I love and appreciate hundreds of people here, I don’t just mean the people when I say I love America, or I’d say I love Americans. America isn’t just People.

What about the government? I do appreciate our system of government, but the actions of the people within it can sure get on my nerves. America isn’t just Government.

What about the history? I cherish our history. The examples from history are so telling, the stories from history so insightful, the eras of history so distinct but still related, the things Americans have invented and the challenges overcome give faith for today. But when I say God bless America, I’m not hoping for God’s help and blessing in the past. He’s already given that. America isn’t just History.

What about the opportunity? Not this one alone either. I have heard multiple personal witnesses and stories testifying that America can still be the land of opportunity. I am so grateful for the freedom that gives us this opportunity. But I also see it getting restricted. The United States of America is not at the top of the index of economic freedom.[2] I love America more than the ones above it in the table though. America isn’t just Opportunity.

What about the Founding Documents? It is because of our founding documents, the principles  behind them and the actions resulting from them that caused America to be the America we know and love. But to cause something is not to be something. To be the recipe is not to be the food. America isn’t just the Founding Documents.

America has long been described as a melting pot. And that is what America is. A melting pot of the history and the people, the land and the Founding Documents, the government and the opportunity.

When I say I love America, I mean that I love what it stands for, as seen in the history and the Founding Documents. When I say I love America, I mean I love what it physically and nationally is, from the land full of plants and animals, cities and towns, to the government full of checks and balances, federal and local. When I say I love America, I mean I love what it can and is striving to become, through the wonderful people and the opportunity and freedom they have.

The flag represents America, in this definition, superbly. It has 13 stripes, representing our first states, recognizing history; it also has 50 stars, representing our current states, and the people and land they contain; finally, it has red, white and blue representing our goal, with white for purity, red for sacrifice, and blue for loyalty.

I love America. Let it be known.  

[1] See, for example, https://www.dailywire.com/news/blm-chapter-declares-u-s-flag-hate-symbol-denounces-those-who-fly-it-as-unsafe-racist-stupid and https://townhall.com/columnists/thomasglessner/2021/07/26/woke-america-should-heed-chinese-cuban-protestors-honoring-old-glory-n2593001 and https://www.foxnews.com/politics/national-archives-rotunda-structural-racism.

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/256965/worldwide-index-of-economic-freedom/ and https://www.heritage.org/index/about