Critics and Lovers Reflect on Independence Day

Christine Emba:

“America is a nation founded out of dissent and discontent; the Declaration of Independence is a literal list of complaints.”

“The firebrand writer James Baldwin said it best, when he wrote, “I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

“It takes a more enduring faith — a more committed patriotism — to compare America to what it could be and to press it to do better than abandon it altogether.”

E.J. Dionne Jr.:

“In our country, criticism is constant, disagreement is perpetual, our understanding of our own history is constantly challenged.”

“Progressives love our country so much that we know it’s strong enough to acknowledge how racism, nativism, religious prejudice, and other forms of injustice and intolerance are embedded in our nation’s story.

“True love can never mean pretending that the object of your affections is perfect… it means believing that the person or country you revere is capable of transformation and… it’s usually critics and dissenters who move us to take our country’s promises seriously.

Natalie Portman:

“It’s like family — you love them, and also feel the most critical toward them.”

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