Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

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July 2, 2014

OUR VIEW: Nation’s imperfection is its strength

GLASGOW — Our nation is imperfect. Its flaws are numerous but also subjective – what one citizen might find offensive or problematic could be celebrated by his or her neighbor. The United States is too large, too diverse, too complex to ever fully satisfy the sensibilities of each American.

So, as we join together this Fourth of July to revel in patriotic songs, catchphrases, cookouts and fireworks, let’s remember that overcoming disagreement – and a bit of dysfunction – is our country’s real strength. It might not always seem like it, but debate and friction moves us forward. If we conformed to a particular set of ideals, we would essentially sacrifice the independence that Independence Day was established to commemorate.

We are awash each day in examples of nations that are unable to handle internal differences. Cracks in religious, political and social customs open into bitter, often violent, chasms. The U.S., meanwhile, is as divided as ever along some philosophical lines, yet it continues working toward solutions. The process can be painful, slow and frustrating, and it often seems each resolution leads to another conundrum, but we haven’t given up. And that, more than even the most spectacular fireworks display, is the true measure of patriotism.

America is great because we love it even though it sometimes falls short of our vision for it. America is great because it allows us to acknowledge its shortcomings and encourages us to address them. America is great because we pursue perfection even though we know we’ll never achieve it.

Not many nations on Earth can say those things. But we can. And that’s precisely what we should celebrate this weekend.

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