I don't mind saying that I am letting the cat out of the bag (at least a bitty kitty) when I say my father's ancestors came from Denmark. Most of you have something similar going on, whether it's Irish, Japanese, Spanish, Kenyan, Brazilian or Lebanese. If you live in America though, we're all American. That's one of the things that makes this country unique and strong. Five generations ago, my dad's family emigrated from Denmark, searching for a place they could practice their religion in peace. Down through the years, the patriarchs of each generation did something wildly different to support the family, from riding shotgun on a Wells Fargo stagecoach to Dentistry to being an Aircraft Commander in the United States Air Force. (That would be my dad.) I am the first of my family to embrace the media, but not the last. I have one son freelancing radio commercials and another making online video for the New York Times.
Through all the generations of my family, we've done a LOT of different things, embraced a LOT of different lifestyles. Our politics have covered every shade of both red and blue, but one thing has kept the fabric of our clan strong; we are all American, through and through. I know it's not fashionable to think of our nation as exceptional, except for the fact that it is. This is the one place on Earth that millions want to come to for prosperity, freedom and happiness. This is the one country in which anything is possible.
There is a school of thought, currently in vogue among the so called progressives, that says America is somehow inherently evil. I would dispute that. The founding fathers never guaranteed that everyone would find happiness, wealth or even liberty. They only guaranteed the opportunity to get those things. How many "rags-to-riches" stories have you heard or read about? How many people do you know in your own life who overcame terrible circumstances to achieve absolute greatness? They didn't do any of that without hard work and a great deal of sacrifice, but first and foremost...they had the chance! To my way of thinking, that is truly what makes America great.
So, on this uniquely American holiday, I'd like to wish everyone, American or not, a Happy Independence Day. Because the way I look at it, even if your entire family tree is still rooted somewhere other than this country, that opportunity exists for you. If you're not an American, you're just a future American, if that's what you want or need.