The first thing we need to do as a nation- before we consider the issues- is define a foundation. America is approaching the 250 year old mark and still we struggle with identity. "Land of the free," is what most people say. "Land of opportunity," is another good one. But what does that mean? What does it mean to be the "land of the free?"
America is not the only nation with freedom on the planet. We're also not the only nation that provides opportunity. We're not the only country with democracy, either. So really, what differentiates America?
The differentiation lies in our outlook, our philosophical foundation not only for our own country but for the world as a whole. The very first official document of America, our Declaration of Independence, begins with these words:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
This opening statement represents America. It serves as the foundation upon with everything else is built. It has to. Our unalienable Rights are a triumph of human understanding that transcends time. It remains as true today as it did in 1776. Now we must solidify it as our philosophical foundation going forward.
But unalienable Rights are not limited to just life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The text clearly states "among these," which implies other Rights exist. To me, those other Rights, aspects of our very humanity, can be found in these three ideas: love, honor, and humor.
So let us talk of honor.
Photo source - Official U.S. Navy Page, CC license 2.0