Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ian Welsh: A Birthday Wish

As so often happens when you hang with such immensely talented people, you're always kept a bit humbled by the respect and admiration engendered by their work. Such is the case today with my friend, Ian Welsh, at The Agonist, who hits one out of the park with a July Fourth piece called simply "A Birthday Wish."

Ian is Canadian, which gives him a slightly different perspective and because it's so damn good, I'll risk spoiling the ending for you:
Those of us who grew up in other countries; those of use who are America's real friends, want what all good friends want for those they care for - that you live up to your own ideals. That you be the nation we know you can be. A bastion of freedom; a nation with the highest respect for civil rights; a country that never gives up "a little freedom for a little safety" and finding neither. A country that doesn't torture, that believes that pre-emptive war is never excusable.

And we want it for you not just because it'd be best for the rest of the world, though it would be, but because it would be best for you. You would be safer, more prosperous, less fearful and have a more assured future if you lived up to the best of what it means to be America - to be American.

So, on July 4th, on your birthday, this is my wish for America and for Americans - that you remember that the right thing to do morally is almost always the right thing to do pragmatically. There is no choice between "freedom and safety"; there is no choice between prosperity and massive inequality; there is no choice between generosity and fiscal prudence and there is no such thing as "managed free speech".

Be the America the world loved. Be the America you can be proudest of - the one that does not torture, that treats all men as equal and with unalienable rights. Be the America that rebuilt Europe and that lends a helping hand to countries like Afghanistan. Be the America that would never invade a country that had not attacked you first. Be the America that is about lifting all boats and not just a few.

Be that America, and we will all be Americans.
If you read nothing else today, please go to The Agonist and read the rest.

Update: The always-wonderful Christy Hardin Smith checks in with another great post for the day at Firedoglake. Please go read "I Stand For Liberty."