America the Beautiful

I’ve always loved the words to this song, but mostly the verses we don’t seem to sing, or take to heart. They are hopeful verses, filled with introspection and personal responsibility:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law
.

O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crowns thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

This song contains in it a recognition that America has, and will always have, flaws. Once we see ourselves as alway right, just because we are America, we will fall victim to that pride that destroys all people. However, if we look to God’s ways to mend our flaws, if we confirm our souls in self control, America will be beautiful again.

Additionally, we must be noble in our successes and divine in our gains. This country was established upon principles of self-government and faith; freedom and hope; equality and merit. Until we return to these eternal principles, all efforts will fail. Let us make America beautiful again, from the inside out.

6 Replies to “America the Beautiful”

  1. I’m not sure I agree with the implication that American is no longer beautiful. In fact, I’m somewhat offended by it. Although there is plenty of work to be done. And plenty of mistakes have been made (foreign relations), that doesn’t mean that America is not beautiful.

    That’s a major flaw I think in the “progressive movement.” There is too much criticism without recognition of the greatness of America. A true patriot is one who embodies the ability to give constructive criticism as well as recognize the true greatness of one’s country.

  2. We’ll have to agree to disagree. We’ve been over this before, Dan. Thanks for your opinion. What do you mean by the “progressive movement”, by the way? The movement that gave women the right to vote, that helped enact the Civil Rights Act? There are problems with progressivism, as there are with conservatism.

    Sorry to offend, but I will keep hoping that America will live up to its promise and its founding. I don’t think it is too much to ask.

  3. I guess I need to explain things a bit better. By “progressive movement,” I was really saying that the current political mindset that everything needs to change. What I sometimes refer to as the “Anti-conservative movement.” For some (too many), it’s not about what needs to change, it’s just about pushing change (their agenda). And I’m not saying that you are part of this… just that they language you used was too much like it.

    I didn’t mean that I don’t agree with the premise of what you are saying. In fact, I fully agree with you. But like I said in my first comment, we can execute change and improvement without being disparaging to the beauty that is the United States of America. When you say, “Let us make American beautiful again,” you imply that it is no longer beautiful. And I fully disagree.

    The very words you posted (and highlighted) indicate what I am saying. Although the author knew there were all kinds of flaws, and prayed for God’s assistance to mend those flaws, he still considered America beautiful.

    The beauty of America is what allows you to make those comments which in other countries or in other times could be construed as treason. There is so much beauty and brilliance/inspiration in the system we have. Sure, there are all kinds of problems.

    The tone with which we say things, can make all the difference as to the effectiveness of our chants for change. If we say that America is no longer beautiful, we will immediately disenfranchise a large population of the citizens who love this great country and simply don’t understand your love for it. They just don’t see your perspective.

    It’s not that they are wrong or that you are wrong. It’s just that you see it differently than they do. Calling something ugly or no longer beautiful that they hold very dear won’t help in bridging that chasm.

    Let’s make American even more beautiful that it already is… and perhaps regain some of it’s former beauty. But let us never for a moment think that we don’t live in the greatest country (or at least one of the greatest) to even ever grace this earth.

  4. I guess what I was most shocked by was that such benign words would offend. If I were to be one who gets offended, I would be offended that you thought I thought so little of America the Beautiful. I’m still trying to see how you read into my post the idea that I think America is ugly.

    “But let us never for a moment think that we don’t live in the greatest country (or at least one of the greatest) to even ever grace this earth”.

    I don’t, Dan. I recognize that it is the most free, most prosperous, most righteous, least corrupt, most amazing nation ever conceived and matured. It’s just that I see its potential as being so much greater. I am ever the idealist and will not be satisfied with an America that is daily straying far from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    I think you read the post with an assumption and applied a negative connotation to it. Others who read it and misunderstand, perhaps I can excuse (although I think it would be because they are reading in something that isn’t there). I’m just surprised that you responded the way you did, in such a negative fashion, to what I think is a critical point. America must be better than it is. It must conserve the things it should conserve (its morality, its freedom) and it must change the things that are wrong.

    One of the reasons I write the way I do is that most of my audience is indeed conservative and I hope that they will ponder the changes that need to be made. But I guess your response has demonstrated that conservatives are taught to think by the talking heads that anyone who hopes for a better America, for a more righteous America, for a more noble America, for a more peaceable America, for a more equitable America, for a more just America…is just a liberal progressive who hates America and wants to Europe-ize it. I think that is sad that you made those assumptions about my intentions.

  5. I’m sorry that I reacted the way I did. I didn’t mean to question your patriotism or your love of this country. The reason I reacted the way I did was that your words could easily be construed differently than I know you intended. I know you… I know your love of the country, but I know you are trying to reach those who might not know you and your true intentions.

    I suppose I latched onto the final sentence of your post and didn’t really take it in full context. But I know others might do the same.

    And to be honest, I thought this was a post by Dave… I didn’t pay attention. Thus my reaction was different. I suppose that means I should conduct a little self introspection and figure out why my reaction should be different depending on the person.

  6. I appreciate that, Dan. The problem is that on both sides of the political spectrum, each side thinks they know what the goal of the other is, without giving them the benefit of the doubt. At that point, the conversation is OVER.

    Conservatives who are unwilling to allow that liberals want what they say they want (equality and opportunity for all) and instead assume they want to control the world, won’t listen. Liberals who assume the contrary about conservatives also limit the dialog.

    I’ll keep talking the way I do and hope that those who are really willing to converse will do so. Those who are so convinced they are right can go and hide behind their walls.

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