Posted by: 2thdocbob | 4 July 2018

America, May God Shed His Grace on Thee

The goodness in the hearts of Americans and the actions that goodness drives are worth celebrating.

This has been adapted from an opinion piece in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. I have followed the original structure and included most of the text as originally written, but have added my own thoughts to it. The original article may be referenced here.


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Over the last decade there has been increasing criticism, even among our own leaders, of the values that built the United States of America. Too many Americans focus on their own perceived grievances and entitlements instead of focusing upon their duties as citizens. Civility has all but vanished from public discourse. Even our governing bodies tend to set aside compromise and the best interests of nation in favor of personal interests and personal gain.

At times the future looks cloudy. Is there still hope?

Is there anything left in America worth celebrating?

Deseret News answers with a resounding yes. I agree wholeheartedly.

Charles Krauthammer regularly declared that this nation, warts and all, is special. He most accurately defined why the country is worth celebrating when he wrote, “America is the only country ever founded on an idea. The only country that is not founded on race or even common history. It’s founded on an idea and the idea is liberty. That is probably the rarest phenomena in the political history of the world; this has never happened before. And not only has it happened, but it’s worked. We are the most flourishing, the most powerful, most influential country on Earth with this system, invented by the greatest political geniuses probably in human history.”

The idea of liberty is certainly worth celebrating.

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Whatever our views on immigration right now, we should celebrate the fact that America continues to be a beacon to freedom-loving people around the world.

The goodness in the hearts of the people of America and the actions that goodness drives are worth celebrating.

Americans regularly donate millions of dollars and countless hours to lift the poor, serve the suffering and strengthen those in need, not just in our own country, but throughout the world. Our people are among the most charitable people on the planet and are often the first on the scene of a natural disaster, first to volunteer, first to contribute and first to rally others to lend a hand. Even our military is involved actively in providing relief after significant foreign disasters.

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.”

Such a declaration is worth celebrating. Every single day.

Equality, life and liberty are worth celebrating.

The pursuit of happiness, even though it is largely misunderstood in principle and practice in our society, is worth celebrating.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Happiness is the aim of life, but virtue is the foundation of happiness.” To Jefferson, the pursuit of happiness went much deeper than momentary emotional feelings or personal pleasure.

Not many years later, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”[1]

Many of us have learned that by creating happiness for others, we create happiness for ourselves.

Americans who find true happiness by creating happiness for others are worth celebrating.

The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness could only occur in a nation which was founded on these freedoms. It has been restored in its fullness with all the gifts, power, and authority that existed in the early church. It could not have happened elsewhere. This is certainly worth celebrating.

As the close of the declaration expresses, those who have pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor are worth celebrating.

The American citizens who have sacrificed much in defense of freedom are worth celebrating. And those who have sacrificed all are worth remembering and celebrating. Many of our own ancestors sacrificed all they had to provide their families, us, with the freedoms we often take for granted.

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Those who have sacrificed their lives, those who have lived with the sacrifice of a lost loved one, those who have sacrificed a limb, those who have sacrificed a life of ease, those who have sacrificed time and material comfort — all for the cause of liberty — are worth celebrating.

If Americans continue to defend their freedoms, a future generation will celebrate their efforts as they celebrate their own freedoms.

In spite of international turmoil, in spite of crises of addiction and despair, in spite of widespread anger, discord and division, there is much worth celebrating this July Fourth and every day.

The United States of America, the eternal principles of liberty and the resilient spirit of the American people are still the last best hope on earth.

America and its people are absolutely worth celebrating.

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[1] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 255–56.

 

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