|Figures of Soviet soldiers at the base of a Soviet Army monument transformed into superheroes in Sofia, Bulgaria.|
“Well, Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.” —Benjamin Franklin (attributed)
On this thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States — on United Airlines Flight 93, the World Trade Center in New York City, and The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. — we remember those who were murdered by those who hated America. We should also understand that there are still those with a deadly hatred for this country and all for which it stands (see the documentary America: Imagine a World Without Her, and its companion book by Dinesh D'Souza).
But we should also remind ourselves that there are so many of us in the United States and around the world who still believe in and want to preserve all that is good about the U.S.A.
This startling and oddly reassuring image showed up recently in a newsfeed from, of all places, the Moscow Times. I tweeted it almost right away.
Bulgarians believe in American exceptionalism, even if Obama does not. http://t.co/zYabbFiHzK #tcot pic.twitter.com/iSyORc9bDmPresident Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” With all due respect, Mr. President, if every country is exceptional, no country is exceptional. Perhaps that was your point.
— Matt Abe (@mattabe) September 4, 2014
That Bulgarian graffiti artists would transform a Soviet military monument into a monument to American superheroes (and Santa Claus and is that Ronald McDonald??) is remarkable on multiple levels. People from other countries often understand American exceptionalism better than U.S. citizens who take their country's freedoms and opportunities for granted.
|Photograph by Dorothea Lange, Oakland, California, 3/13/42, for the War Relocation Authority. University of California collection.|
Why? Around the turn of the twentieth century, their parents immigrated to this country, with no hope for a better future in Japan, many homeless, rising to the middle class in a generation. They believed in American ideals, some dying on the battlefield defending those ideals, even when America sometimes did not live up to them. In short, they were Americans.
Family friends of ours fled Castro's Cuba during the 1960s. They often wonder what would happen if the United States fundamentally changes from its founding principles of freedom. “Where would we go?” they ask.
Fly the flag, petition the government with your grievances, thank a military veteran, say the Pledge of Allegiance, write a letter to the editor, teach your children why they should know the Constitution. Their future, and our country's future, depends on it. It's our country — if we can keep it.