This Fourth of July finds America at war. There have been a lot of Independence Days like this, though, in our history.
But this year, we note that around the globe, anti-Americanism is high and seems to be on the rise.
Why is this? Some would argue that American foreign policy is to blame.
I have heard from friends who have been both to Europe and the Middle East that the very same argument to defend anti-Americanism is consistently being trotted out -- That is, the world "likes Americans, but they just don't like our government."
However, I think this is a cop out that masks the true feelings of many foreigners expressing anti-American views.
To a certain degree, we understand their point about our government. We Americans don't like our government a lot of the time. Still, we don't care much for burning American flags or the President in effigy, either.
Plus, it's our government.
And unlike much of the world that expresses this disdain for our government, we are our government. We understand that our government is a republic, and we further understand that it doesn't represent us perfectly, or even well, at times. But over time, for better or worse, our government is what we, the American people, want it to be.
Our government is really an extension of us because we are free. We are not as free as perhaps we used to be, and we are certainly not as free as we want to be. But we are free.
And our freedom -- freedom to speak, to write, to worship ... or not, to work, to dream, to protest, and to vote, and to do all of the foregoing without fear -- this is a call to arms to much of the world.
Thus, what the current rise of anti-Americanism really tells us is that freedom is on the decline in the world.
So, we hear the loud voices of the anti-American tide.
But what irony to have the subjects of Muslim autocrats in Saudi Arabia tell us that "They like Americans, just not their government." They speak of us as if we are subjects, like they are. They speak in this way because they are subjects.
In Russia, reports of American warmongering and profiteering are accepted as gospel. Regardless of the facts or the price of gasoline here, they just know that we went to Iraq to steal the oil. Why? The Russian people are ruled by a government that engages in this very thing in spades.
Throughout Europe, the naysaying nieces and nephews of the nanny state wring their hands and deride America for daring to confront the fascists of the 21st century. America's freedom and fight endangers the peace, it seems.
Meanwhile, militant Muslims and their allies worldwide decry the debauchery, excesses and corruption of American society. Yes, freedom produces excesses. But these excesses pale in comparison to societies that are led around by the nose by the likes of Zarqawi, Hussein, Assad, Ahmadinejad, and Bin Laden.
Indeed, tyrants and their subjects never have and never will understand freedom.
Both tyranny and freedom expand and threaten the other's oxygen supply. They war with each other. They must. Always.
America's birth certificate was thus a declaration of war, not just on King George's England but on tyrants in perpetuity.
Therefore, America remains a magnet for criticism worldwide prinicipally because America remains a reminder to the world that a people still dares to live in freedom.
Friends take solace. Foes take heed.
We are America the Controversial, because we are free. We are America the Beautiful.