A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kim Banta: Celebrating our independence and working for a better tomorrow

As we look back on the 246th anniversary of our country’s independence, we must understand how unique and truly wonderful our country is. When it comes to defining what makes the United States of America so great, one may look to the diverse cultures from coast to coast or even our entrepreneurial spirit. While these do make the United States truly great, our living and breathing Constitution, our global leadership, and our fellow Americans make the United States of America the best country on Earth.

When James Madison pushed his fellow founders to adopt the Bill of Rights, he believed their inclusion in the Constitution was not the government bestowing these rights, rather it was educating citizens on their God-given rights. The freedom to speak freely, the freedom to practice or abstain from practicing of a religion, the freedom to bear arms, just to name a few, are not rights the government gave us, rather these are inalienable rights the Founders recognized. The recognition of these inalienable rights is just a piece of what makes the United States a forward-thinking country rooted in tradition.  The other piece is the ability to always strive to be the city upon a hill.

Kim Banta

Throughout our country’s history, we have continually worked towards the promise that all are created equal and no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The fight for human rights for African Americans during the Civil War and the subsequent amendments display the march towards a more perfect union. Moreover, the ratification of the 19th amendment for woman’s suffrage solidifies that in order to best represent the values of the country, all must have a voice in electing our government. These are only two examples of strides our country has made toward a better tomorrow. No country is ever perfect, rather it is the pursuit of perfection which allows our country to be the land of the free.

From the birth of our nation 246 years ago, we have been trailblazers. At the time of our Declaration of Independence, Great Britain was the largest empire the world has ever seen. Perhaps by fate, our challenge and victory over the global leader would eventually land us atop the global stage. Through American industry and patriotism, the United States would go on to win world wars and aid the demise of European fascism, win the cold war of ideologies with the Soviet Union, and lead the war on terror after 9/11. More recently, when the world stood still with the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the United States who was the largest contributor to global COVID-19 relief.

No matter your gender, the color of your skin, your religion, or your starting economic class, the United States of America is still and forever will be the land of opportunity. Success is not guaranteed in the United States; instead there is the guaranteed ability for upward economic mobility if one is willing to work for it. Barriers up the ladder of success have been removed and will continue to be removed as our country progresses towards a land of equality and opportunity. A melting pot of ideologies, creeds, and backgrounds fuel the American spirt and that spirit will never die so long as our constitution continues to live.

It may not be the easiest of times right now in the union, but this is not indicative of an overall declining country. We have been through recessions, depressions, world wars, a pandemic, and at the end of each of those, the United States has come back stronger than before. While it is quite easy to look to the past and reminisce, I challenge you to look towards tomorrow. Our union has been forged through the sacrifice of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen to protect those God-given rights the constitution recognized. Thus, we must use the past as a tool to blaze a new trail to a brighter and safer tomorrow with the United States pioneering new technologies, ideas, medicine, and industry.

As Kentuckians, we play an integral part in the fabric of the country. On this anniversary of our country’s birth, I ask you to remember the sacrifices our veterans made and continue to make, the foreknowledge of our founders, the lead we take among all nations, and finally, how we can create a better tomorrow.

I would encourage all of you to keep up to date with legislative happenings during this interim, and as always, feel free to contact me via email kim.banta@lrc.ky.gov. If you would like more information, please visit the LRC website legislature.ky.gov.

Kim Banta is a representative in the state legislature from Northern Kentucky.

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