I wanted to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday weekend, as we celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th. The last four months have been a time for critical thinking about a lot of things, including our values. Self-examination is a good thing: it helps us, individually and as a nation, to improve. And putting that sort of meaningful, critical thinking into action is only possible in a free and democratic society like ours. It is one of the defining characteristics of America.
Two years ago, I reflected on the meaning of the American experiment at my investiture, and here is what I said:
“I love this country. I love what she stands for. The history of the world is largely a history of tribal warfare, monarchy, grinding poverty and misery. And then . . . there’s America. America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world. It is a country founded on ideas. And not just any ideas, but the right ideas – ideas that have unlocked human potential and enabled human flourishing. Self-government, freedom, liberty, individual rights, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, free markets, capitalism, economic opportunity, and equality under the law.”
Those words were true then, they are true today, and they will remain true as we embrace the future. We have a lot of important work left to do to make our country better. We cannot be complacent. But this holiday weekend is an appropriate time to focus on what unites us as Americans. God Bless you and your families, and God Bless the United States of America.