Just what was former U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder really thinking?
Last month Holder asked an interviewer during a MSNBC interview, “Exactly when did you think America was great?”
Holder, using words similar to what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said over a year ago, was saying “America was never that great.”
Playing along party lines, Holder reminded us that America is led by Republicans that are “…unpatriotic grievance holders who think we live in a country built on racism, genocide and white supremacy.”
It appears as if he believes “…these remain as defining features of the United States.”
We must not travel across the same countryside. Perhaps, Holder needs to escape “the swamp” and the boundaries of Chicago to renew his education in America and why she’s such a great country.
I would be glad to go with him back to Boston and stand in the harbor where our forebears dumped crates of tea, telling the King of England we no longer wished to be under British rule.
He should follow the route of Paul Revere as he warned Americans of the intent of the British Army and he then should stop at the old North Bridge. On a quiet day with a light breeze, you can still hear the firing of muskets.
I wish he could spend a few moments with George Washington at Valley Forge and then listen to Washington’s response when asked to be our country’s first king.
I wonder if he had sat at the table in Philadelphia and listened to the discussion and proposals about our Declaration of Independence and, later, our Constitution that still guides our country today, if he could say America has never been great.
Had he been with Andrew Jackson’s rag-tag militia at the Battle of New Orleans, seeing men of every race and creed come together, to again fight the British, would he still not be proud of America?
Would he have been strong enough to go with Lewis and Clarke from Pittsburgh to the Pacific Coast through unchartered lands and rivers from May 1804 until returning in September 1806?
And, what if he had the opportunity to stand with President Abraham Lincoln as the president delivered the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 or his Gettysburg Address later in September of that year?
This great nation has led the world in inventions to include the cotton gin, the airplane and the automobile. It has tread on equal ground in the fields of medicine and science.
We saved the world in World War II and can attest to the greatness of our military men and women by the number of crosses perfectly lined in cemeteries around the world. Perhaps, Holder should visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington.
I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten Brown v. Board of Education and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s decision to send federal troops to Little Rock, Ark.
It was America that first traveled to the moon and beyond, that aided in the fall of the Berlin Wall, that first harnessed the power of the atom.
America’s greatness comes from people of all races, from people who desire to live in freedom and who extend their hands to countries around the world in times of need.
Perhaps Holder studied from different historical texts than I did.
Obviously, the former attorney general has forgotten his political history of the politics and parties of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. I believe it was his current party, the Democratic Party, that failed under Holder’s veil to meet his expectations.
Have we made mistakes? Yes. Will we make more? Of course we will. But, we have been and remain a great nation.
One of America’s great historians, Stephen Ambrose, wrote in his book “TO AMERICA: Personal Reflections of an Historian;” “America is the first democratic nation-state, now more than two and a quarter centuries old. Our greatest triumphs are the 18th-century creation of our democratic republic, the 19th–century abolishment of slavery and the holding together of our Union, and our 20th-century crushing of totalitarianism.”
In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminded us that the United States is unique in that no other nation has ever been founded on a commitment to liberty and equality.
But Holder argues, “It takes us back to a time that never in fact really existed…you know America has done superb things, great things, but we are always a work in process…’Make America Great Again’ is inconsistent with who we are as Americans.”
He argued we weren’t great “when people were enslaved…when women did not have the right to vote… (or) when the LGBT community was denied the rights to which it was entitled.” We realize those weren’t great moments in our history and we are making changes every day.
It sounds as if Holder can’t leave the past and accept where we are today. I would argue that “Make America Great Again” is not inconsistent with who we are today and that we have enjoyed thousands of great moments in our history.
The torch is in our hands. We must continue the march even though there are those who do not want us to be great.
Let’s work together to keep America great!
Jimmy Terrell is retired from a career in law enforcement and is a Winder city councilman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.