Leftists don’t hate America. They hate America’s problems. They may conflate these problems with the country, but the two are not the same.
In this country, we can use representative government to address our problems. The American founders knew that imperfections would always exist. They believed in innovation for the sake of self-improvement. Using the government to improve America is loving America.
All America-lovers agree on the larger goal of making the country a better place. They just disagree on which policies are most effective or just. If leftists want to make the country a better place, they can do so through politics.
Many leftists claim they hate America because oppression is so baked into the country’s essence. Thus, the nation could never be just. They point to the Constitution, which allowed for the continuation of slavery. The Constitution also established the amendment process, which allowed us to abolish slavery with the passage of the 13th Amendment. The end of slavery in America is just one piece of proof that America is not defined by its problems; it is defined by its ability to address them.
Some leftists may argue that legal slavery still exists in America via the 13th Amendment’s “prison loophole.” The “prison loophole” is the exception to the 13th Amendment which allows slavery as a punishment for a crime. But the injustice of modern prison labor pales in comparison the horrors of chattel slavery.
Injustice is a part of society’s past, present, and future. It can never be eliminated completely. Institutions that allow for change are our only hope.
America can seem to regress at times, but we must remember that change is not linear. Martin Luther King Jr. said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. That rings true in this country. In the early years of reconstruction, black Americans turned out to vote in droves and elected black candidates to public office. That was a step forward. Under Andrew Johnson’s administration, that progress was erased. But, through the presence and hard work of America-lovers in representative government, black Americans won back those rights a century later. We are not perfect, and we work on these issues to this day.
It’s a long uphill battle, but the strides we have made prove that America is not inherently oppressive. Our democratic institutions, not our fixable issues, define us. One can hate America’s problems and still love the institutions we use to address them.
To hate America disrespects the hard work of great activists who believed in our institutions. Frederick Douglas, who was once enslaved, wrote, “notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country.” Thanks to fellow America-lovers like Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we stand here with all our pride and privilege. Those great people believed in America. They believed we could change the country for the better. The left must honor these heroes and continue to push for a better nation.
Some leftists think America is a cesspool of bigotry. They may want to write the country off as unfixable. We have come far, but as it will always be, many problems remain. Oppression is the product of mistakes made by Americans. It does not define America. America-lovers and leftists fight for a better country. Leftists may hate some aspects of American society or government, but they don’t hate what’s at our core.