Addressing the House of Commons on November 11, 1947, Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I’ll borrow his sentiment and suggest the same rings true of the United States of America. All nations have flaws because they are the product of humans, who in their nature are often deeply flawed. Our great country is no different. The U.S. is home to thieves, rapists, murderers, pedophiles, religious extremists, sexists and racists. But this small minority do not define us and they do not represent We The People.
Colin Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, leftists, and now the NFL are all pushing a pernicious myth that the United States is a bad and racist place. They lie and say that large swaths of our citizenry are oppressed. They lie and say that the United States is a land characterized by white privilege, income inequality, political corruption and persecution. They lie and say that kneeling during our anthem is not disrespecting our flag.
On September 25, the FBI released their violent crime statistics for 2016. According to Heather Mac Donald's analysis of this report and Washington Post data, 16 unarmed black men were killed by police officers last year. She makes an important distinction that a suspect’s categorization as “unarmed” does not lend insight into whether they were violently engaging an officer, or putting the lives of others at risk, only that they were not carrying a firearm or knife at the time of the shooting. With this in mind, truly unjustified police shootings of young, unarmed black men are rarer than the 16 identified by the Post.
There are slightly more than 37 million black people living in the United States. This means that, even if it's assumed that all 16 shootings involved excessive use of force, unarmed black Americans have a 0.000043% chance of being shot by a police officer. To put that in perspective, the average person has roughly a 0.033% chance of being struck by lightning in their lifetime.
This is what Colin Kaepernick and the NFL are protesting. Imaginary, fictitious, systemic police racism. This is why they refuse to take pride in our flag. And that begs the question: Is there any flag Kaepernick would stand for?
What country is more generous than the United States? Last year, individuals broke the previous world record (also set by us) by donating $390.05 billion to charitable organizations.
What country treats the LGBT community with more tolerance than the United States? Certainly not Jamaica, where anal intercourse is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor. Not in Middle Eastern countries, where homosexuals are punished even more harshly. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, to be gay is a death sentence. Here in the U.S., if a private business owner doesn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding, they’re publicly shamed and make national news.
What country has greater economic opportunity than the United States? The World Bank lists the global poverty line at $1.90 per day. Assuming one works every day of the year at that rate, their annual income would be only $693.50. Compare that with the United States, which marks it’s poverty line at $22,162 a year. Our poverty line starts 31 times higher than the global rate. Our economy represents 25% of the world’s GDP. The United States and its wealth have been vastly more instrumental in lifting human beings out of poverty than any nation in history.
What country has contributed more to the world than the United States? We invented the modern suspension bridge, the electric light bulb, photographic film, the skyscraper, electric traffic lights, frozen food, automatic car transmissions, the assembly line, airplanes, credit cards, disposable diapers, the integrated circuit, lasers, personal computers, mobile phones, space shuttles, the internet, GPS, and perhaps most importantly, chocolate chip cookies.
And now, the question at hand. What predominantly white country has provided more opportunity and equality to its minority black population than the United States? Yes, the legacy of slavery hangs over our founding like a shroud, but to pretend we are alone in this is pure fiction. Slavery was a worldwide evil. In 1778, the state of Virginia abolished the importation of slaves. This effort was led by Thomas Jefferson, who, as president, also signed legislation that criminalized the international slave trade in 1807. England passed similar legislation that same year. Sweden abolished the slave trade in 1813, The Netherlands in 1814, France in 1826, Brazil in 1851. Almost the entire developed world decided that slavery was evil in a period of about 50 years. No one would pretend that it’s been roses since then. But in fighting the civil war, abolishing Jim Crow, and amending our constitution to provide equal protections and rights under the law, the United States has made more progress toward living our ideals than most modern nations.
There are still approximately 30 million people enslaved in the world today. Slave trading still exists in countries like Haiti, Pakistan, and India, and is still practiced widely across the African continent. Black Americans are afforded more opportunity here than they would be anywhere else on Earth. No country in Europe has ever elected a black Chief Executive. Neither has Canada. In fact, no country with a minority black population, apart from us, has done so. We cherished black musicians, actors, poets, writers, scholars, athletes, politicians, judges, and businessmen. Above all other labels, those people are viewed as great Americans. And why is that?
Because America is not racist.
It’s the worst country on Earth, except for all the others. And that is why I will always stand for our flag and our anthem. Because I’m honored, and grateful to live in what is still, and hopefully always will be, the land of the free and the home of the brave.