"The land of the free, and the home of the brave." These words illuminate the crux of American patriotism. Designed as a safe haven free from persecution, the United States serves as a global symbol of freedom and individual liberty.
In reality, those words are nothing more than idealistic values and empty promises found in songbooks and sheet music practiced by elementary students learning the National Anthem. Millions of Americans have yet to experience a land that truly lives up to the promise of freedom. Nonetheless, we continue to set our sights on a shared vision of equality for all.
President Donald Trump’s recent display of military might at his vanity project dubbed “Salute to America” on July 4 in our nation’s capital attempted to display the patriotic values we celebrate annually on Independence Day.
There was a stark difference between Trump’s Independence Day celebration and the homecoming of the U.S. women’s national soccer team and their World Cup trophy.
While the American Flag triumphed over the wind and rain during Trump’s event, true patriotism did not. It did make a glaring appearance on the streets of New YorkCity during the July 10 World Cup parade celebrating the World Cup victory of the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
Trump’s event, comprised of military flyovers, tank displays, fireworks and a Presidential address, gave Americans a dark look at the absolutist and authoritarian nature of the Trump Administration’s approach to leadership and highlighted the deep divisions within the U.S.
The event racked up a bill of $5.35 million and drained the Emergency Planning and Security Fund, which provides security responses to maintain safety in Washington, D.C.
In contrast, the U.S. women’s national soccer team celebratory parade and rally in New York City gave the world a sense of the idealistic values of patriotism we strive to welcome into reality. Red, white and blue confetti dropped from the sky as a float carrying the team rolled down Broadway. This patriotic display symbolized unity and the values of the U.S. in a way that Trump has yet to do during his presidency.
Megan Rapinoe, the forward on the U.S. team, embodied a type of patriotism during the celebration in New York that is nowhere to be found in the Trump White House. Rapinoe preached the importance of acceptance, telling the crowd, “This is my charge to everyone: We have to be better, we have to love more and hate less. Listen more and talk less. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
Her words paint a picture of an America brimming with pride and acceptance, not an America riddled with resent. Her words at the celebration were met with signs held by attendees, advocating for equal pay and workplace equality. Attendees at Trump’s event would instead resort to campaign banners with “TRUMP” scribbled in bolded letters.
Rapinoe’s words and the atmosphere of acceptance that filled the streets of New York City during the World Cup celebration speak to a country that’s free and patriotic, not one that’s held by the grip of tanks and jets flying overhead. The U.S. women’s national soccer team is setting the example. It’s time for Trump to follow.
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