I used to be proud to be an American.
When I was a child, I did not quite understand what that meant. I loved celebrating Independence Day because we would spend most of the day outside, grilling and playing in the yard. It was a day that my dad had off from work. In the evening, we would go to the fireworks and spend time together as a family.
In my teenage years, I started to question everything. I pushed away from Christianity and started to feel ashamed of being an American. I wanted to leave the country and go elsewhere, and I often refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, mostly because of the phrase “under God.” There were times when I even refused to stand for the National Anthem, my disgust with the country growing.
Then I started to learn about the history of the United States and, more importantly, the United States Constitution. Even in my high school government class, we never discussed the Constitution, just the various branches of government. We touched on it in law class, but the reasons for court decisions were not discussed in-depth, and I had lost interest in school, facing bullies every day and fighting the repetitive structure and intrusion of my free time with extensive homework. It was boring to me, failing to see the importance of random unknown court cases and their decisions in my life.
The Constitution, however, is the key to what makes this country great, and that is what changed my attitude toward the country.
Much of the Constitution seems to be misunderstood. Even among government officials, the same text is interpreted in different ways. I realized long ago that, just as with most arguments, words will be interpreted or skewed to fit the argument of the individual. That is where the United States is failing. Too many people read only what they want to read or interpret text based on their own preconceived notions. This alters their understanding of the text, willing it to fit their opinions, regardless of what is written.
Two issues are perfect examples of questionable interpretations: gun rights and abortion rights.
It makes no sense that those who claim to be “pro-life” are also pro-gun, giving the impression that they intend to control the population by using guns rather than preventing unwanted…