What It Means to Be an American

July 3, 2024

On Independence Day, Americans have a lot to celebrate.

For 248 years, our experiment in constitutional democracy has persevered with two simple yet powerful ideas: that government exists to secure our God-given freedoms, and that We the People—not a king, ruler, or council of bureaucrats—are in charge of our destiny as equal citizens.

For generations, these ideas inspired Americans to see opportunities where others have seen obstacles and build a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Yet, under President Biden, Americans are losing faith in this vision. Across my state, I hear from Tennesseans who are worried that the American Dream is no longer in reach and that our country’s best days are behind us. This loss in confidence has coincided with a loss of patriotism: A Wall Street Journal poll last year found that just 38 percent of Americans value patriotism, down from 70 percent when first asked 26 years ago.

While these troubling trends have existed for years, President Biden has worsened them—especially with trillions in inflationary spending that raised prices across the board for working families by more than 20 percent.

But at a more fundamental level, Americans are losing confidence in themselves and our country because President Biden and his administration have waged a war on what it means to be an American—devaluing our citizenship and attacking our nation’s core values and freedoms.

Nothing is more fundamental to a nation's sovereignty than control of its borders. But for more than three years, the President has flouted our immigration laws and welcomed more than 10 million illegal aliens into our country, with many of them receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.

In fact, while nearly 1 million U.S. veterans are awaiting adjudication on their benefits claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs has funneled tens of millions of dollars to health facilities to treat migrants. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to programs to house illegal aliens, while 653,000 Americans, including 35,000 veterans, remain homeless.

With his latest amnesty executive action, which puts many illegals on the path to U.S. citizenship, the President is sending a clear message: Lawbreakers who reside in our country illegally are entitled to the same rights and privileges as law-abiding Americans.

While diminishing our citizenship, the administration has pushed a radical and divisive agenda that assails what Americans should have in common: our fundamental values and freedoms.

Americans and Tennesseans cherish the principle of equal opportunity, yet the President has directed federal agencies to distribute resources—from government contracts to medical supplies—based on immutable characteristics such as race.

At the same time, the administration has pushed so-called diversity trainings that teach a distorted view of our nation’s history to millions of government employees, including military service members.

As a former U.S. Space Force lieutenant colonel testified before Congress earlier this year, under Biden “there’s been an overt politicization of the military workplace and the forcing of trainings that are anti-American, that criticize our Founding Fathers, [and] that allege that white supremacy is a problem within the military ranks.”

As if promoting far-left radicalism is not enough, the President has also led a crusade against Americans of faith.

Just in May, the Department of Health and Human services issued a rule that threatens to deny federal funding to faith-based health care providers if they refuse to perform transgender treatments. This follows the President’s months’ long effort to force private and religious schools into allowing biological males in women’s spaces, with the administration even threatening to cut federal lunch programs for schools that refuse to comply. On top of that, the administration recently finalized regulations that will make it more difficult for religious charities to receive federal financial assistance.

To no one’s surprise, Americans are fed up with the President’s radical agenda. Thankfully, our Founding Fathers gave us everything we need, including our cherished democratic process, to change course. This Independence Day, let’s remember that We the People are in charge of our destiny.