Happy Birthday, America. You look great for 243.
A lot of people spend a lot of time pointing out your flaws. We all have them. In 243 years, you’ve outgrown the vast majority of yours with or even ahead of the times. Things you did wrong, you tried in earnest to set right. And you criticized yourself for them first, in your own press, in your own streets, in your own halls of power. You’re an introspective Lady, America. In getting to this point, not everyone has gotten a fair shake. Some, in fact, have had it downright unfairly. But again, you’ve done your level best to right those wrongs and lift people up, here on your own shores as well as in the rest of the world. You come to the aid of others, you embrace freedom, and you empower the world with the kinds of innovation, connectivity, and creativity that only a free market can create. Your people are never born into their ultimate status. They own the results of their work, and so they can raise themselves up to any height, regardless of where they started. It isn’t easy, but here, at least, it’s possible.
I’ve been honored, deeply and humbly honored, to serve you in the long tradition of my family and other patriots who bled and died for our Flag. I know that my own contribution may have been inconsequential compared with others, but I also know that when millions come together and work toward the highest ideals and the very best in what America can be, even the tiniest of contributions makes a difference. I have no illusions about being perfect, and I have no illusions about my country being perfect either. But in the same way we work to better ourselves, through honest introspection and perspective, I know my country will march forward to its best self.
Today, it’s not about the work ahead or the things that aren’t as good as they could be. Today is about how far we’ve come. A celebration of my country’s Independence, and about what that means. Accountability, creating prosperity, delivering on the promise of liberty and greatness. I don’t know how anyone could ever doubt that you’ve delivered. Look around. I’m on my third passport. I’ve seen a lot of other places. Americans have it good, whether they know and appreciate that fact or not. So for giving us all a home so prosperous that we can gripe without even knowing how good we have it, for taking the slings and arrows of your critics with poise and grace, and for being not only a United States of America that cares about being better tomorrow than you are today, but for being MY America, thank you, and Happy Birthday.