Since welcoming the gift of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885, the lady has stood proudly as a beacon of freedom to immigrants arriving on our shores. For the millions of immigrants who began their American journey passing through Ellis Island, the gift from France was one of the first sites they saw upon arriving at their new home. Through the years, the opportunity in immigrating to the United States has been romanticized (much like it was this paragraph), but more recently the narrative has shifted among certain groups of people.
Some contemporary historians, leftist political pundits, and Twitter warriors would prefer to paint our history as a bleak and somber portrait of a crumbling, morally bankrupt coalition of vagrants led by white, male elitists. They claim that the United States not only isn’t great but that it never was great—and some may even stretch it to claim that we could never possibly be great.
But this doesn’t give us anything close to a full picture of ourselves.
Like every nation that has ever existed, we are a combination of our strengths and our weaknesses. When you fail to see or appreciate fully both the strengths and weaknesses of a person or a people, the resulting story is incomplete and inaccurate.
So what is accurate? Is our nation really as horrible as the media makes it seem? The statistics tell us all we need to know.
A Gallup poll from 2018 showed that the United States is still the top choice for potential immigrants and that 15 percent of the world’s population (which is approximately 750 million people) would move to another country if they could.
According to Pew Research, more than 40 million people currently living in the United States were born in another country. That is 13.6 percent of our population. What’s more, immigration to the United States accounted for approximately one-fifth of all worldwide migration. Some of those people are legal immigrants and some are not, but the statistics still show that people continue to choose to move to the United States en masse.
If the United States is really as bad as the Left would have us believe, why are people still trying to come here in droves?
Well, for a multitude of reasons. Education tops the list for many families when they consider moving to a new neighborhood. The same is true when considering a move to an entirely different country. Our education system as well as our colleges and universities still surpasses the caliber of education available to students in other countries.
Our medical knowledge and expertise are world-renowned. Our economy, despite recent setbacks, is (relatively and generally) thriving. The U.S. dollar remains the world’s reserve currency (despite China’s best efforts). Moreover, our military is robust and well-equipped, and our technological advancements seem to know no bounds.
Sure you can argue that many of our schools are failing, our healthcare system needs to be reworked, we’re chopping down acres of forests, college graduates struggle to pay off college loans and find jobs. You can argue those points until you’re blue in the face.
But people still risk their lives to come here. They are willing to leave their families and the familiar behind for a chance at a new life in these 50 states. As it turns out, in the eyes of people around the world, the United States of America is a pretty great place to live—even accepting the mistakes we’ve made and the problems we currently face as a nation.
We should count ourselves lucky to live where we do.
We shouldn’t ignore our flaws or erase the history we aren’t proud of because it makes us uncomfortable. We should learn from these things.. History doesn’t require our judgment. It is over and we can’t change it, after all.
What history does require is our close study so we don’t repeat old mistakes and so we may learn from previous good examples. The individuals who make up this country and who strive for something bigger than themselves should make all of us proud to be Americans. Despite our imperfections, the story of America is one of unrivaled prosperity and good fortune. May it continue to be so.