Kevin Lair
Staff Columnist

President Ronald Reagan proclaimed, “We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia.” The vast majority of people worldwide recognize America’s revolutionary beginnings and understand that it is truly exceptional. No one should be ashamed to label America the greatest nation in the world because it is and will forever be.

America was founded as the best hope for mankind, for people of all faiths and creeds. Its founding was exceptional in what it represented—a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Revolutionary patriots stood up to King George III in defense of liberty, freedom, and adequate representation. In the process, they established the notion that the people, not some bureaucrats or monarchs, should run a country. No other country has such a beautiful, rich history of individualism and opportunity.

Since then, some countries have viewed America as imperialistic, but the majority of these countries demanded American involvement in the first place. Civilians around the world seek American intervention as their authoritative rulers clamp down on their basic human rights or commit genocide.

Though not perfect, America has vastly improved over time. It realized the injustices it perpetrated towards Native Americans, blacks, and women, and has given these Americans their equal rights. Regardless of the current turbulent political atmosphere, more positive work comes out of a dysfunctional Washington than in any other capital. The resilience of entrepreneurs, innovative businesses, and blue-collar workers drives the American spirit and continues to boast the qualitative superiority of this nation.

Americans agree with this notion. According to Gallup opinion polling released in December 2010, 80 percent of Americans believe “the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart from other nations as the greatest in the world.”

While most countries unfavorably view one another, much of the world positively receives America. Pew opinion polling in 2012 found that seven nations hold a more than 60 percent approval rating of the United States. Italy and Japan hold the highest approval of the U.S. with 74 and 72 percent, respectively. America enjoys such high ratings as a result of its emphasis on liberal democracy, equality, and free markets.

The resolve of Americans has been tested through two global conflicts, the 9/11 attack, and the recent Boston Marathon bombings. Despite the heartache and sheer destruction, the American spirit rose from the rubble and responded behind an impenetrable force of passion and determination. In no other country do the civilians, businesses, and officials move so swiftly in defense of justice and compassion for their fellow men. Not even terrorism can shake the resolve and absolute confidence of the American people.

Individual Americans established this country and continue to fight for it. American entrepreneurs set up profitable businesses in their garage and then trade in Asian markets the next day. American inventers develop the next ground-breaking innovation that will bring resources and prosperity to Africa. Americans have broken incalculable barriers through elevating entire civilizations out of poverty and bringing education, healthcare, and safety to millions around the world.

Americans understand their exceptionalism. Through the Declaration of Independence, it was recognized that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Nowhere on earth is such a bold, encompassing statement declared or enforced.

America has such an incredible heritage. It is the land of opportunity, the land where people can achieve any dream regardless of their background. America is not just a city on a hill but a realm of innovation, individualism, and intrinsic amazement. America remains the greatest hope for mankind, and it is truly exceptional in this feat.

The Elm

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