These days the word “pride” is often used when discussing the gay situation. Actually, the word “gay” is rarely used the way Luther Vandross did in one of his songs describing a happy outcome.
The English language has evolved in fascinating ways.
On this July 4th weekend, I am thinking about a new poll from Gallup, a generally reliable outfit, unlike some polling agencies, which are flat-out dishonest.
Gallup asked more than 1,000 American adults about pride in being an American.
Sixty-five percent of us are proud to be citizens. Thirteen percent are not. Twenty-two percent are wishy-washy about it. You know, I haven’t used the term “wishy-washy” in a long time. I missed it.
The Constitution gives all Americans the right to despise the country. But only a few really do. These people are known as radicals and reactionaries – folks who never took Che’s picture down or who continue to admire the Gestapo.
In other words, most of the America- haters are loons.
The 22 percent who aren’t exactly jazzed about the red, white, and blue are generally focused on a personal grievance.
Remember during the 2016 presidential campaign when First Lady Michelle Obama said she was proud of her country for the first time? Whoa. Mrs. Obama grew up in Chicago and witnessed her father, a school janitor, live a tough life. That remains a part of her.
Yet, Mrs. Obama has prospered in this country far beyond almost every other American. She’s wealthy and admired.
Had she been born in most other places on the planet, her current success would have been impossible.
Me too. My father got battered in the marketplace, although not nearly to the extent Michelle’s dad did. Like her, I watched closely. William J. O’Reilly, Sr. had the opportunity but did not seize it. The Great Depression instilled a debilitating fear in him. He settled for less; he accepted unfair treatment for a light paycheck.
But I did not inherit that fear. We didn’t have much in Levittown, but I figured out the essence of the country in my early 20s. Find a pathway. Develop my God-given talent. Work hard. Challenge corrupt authority. Persist when you’re knocked down.
I have traveled to 84 countries. No other nation provides an opportunity the way America does. The immigrants know it – just ask them.
That makes me proud. I live in the land of opportunity. I replace grievance with productivity. It wasn’t easy, but by paying my own way, literally and figuratively, I have become a successful American.
And I am grateful.