OPINION

Congressman Smith Capitol Report: Our Nation’s Independence

Jason Smith

This July 4, America will mark its 245th birthday. The freedom and liberty that our Founding Fathers envisioned have become pillars of not only our society, but for countries around the globe. The Declaration of Independence boldly declares that all of us are born with God-given rights, and that no one can take those away from us. “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.” Americans have always been able to come together to recognize that whatever our differences, we can all be grateful for a country whose founding principle is working towards freedom and equality.

This year, however, we face a growing threat from those who have sought to recast America not as a country dedicated to continued advancement of these principles, but as an evil nation founded to protect and advance racism and slavery. We hear these voices every day in institutions who are too weak to defend America as a force for good, whether it’s corporations whose boards of directors are increasingly out of touch with their workers; our national media who fire or refuse to publish dissenting voices on the left or the right; or our universities where academic freedom is only granted if you embrace liberal political activism. 

This past week we saw an Olympic athlete turn her back to our flag while the National Anthem played. We’ve seen elite voices in Hollywood and entertainment call for the replacement of our flag; for the rewriting of our National Anthem; for the renaming of our nation’s capital; for the removal of our statues honoring American heroes; and for the cancellation of our forefathers. Our society can’t continue to function with the constant disparagement of our country from prominent voices within. Those who care for America need to speak up against those who would undo that which binds us.

Rather than running from this fight, I’m embracing it. America is worth fighting for. What makes America great is as true today as it was in 1776. Our country remains the most open, dynamic, free, stable, and culturally diverse nation that has ever existed. From the D-Day landings to putting the first man on the moon, our nation has proven time and time again that we have the ability to accomplish anything. Our military has kept Americans safe for the better half of the last century. Our economic model has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. We have provided almost limitless opportunities to our citizens, and the best is yet to come.

This 4th of July holiday, I’ll be celebrating and appreciating the abundant freedoms we enjoy. I stand ready to ensure the survival of liberty and the fulfillment of a more perfect society. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, America is the last best hope of man on earth. Happy Independence Day!

Congressman Jason Smith, R-MO, represents Rolla in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.