Theodore Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt was a man of unabashed conviction, idealism, and patriotism. He also was a staunch supporter of labor rights, the abolition of school segregation, and environment conservation among others. All throughout his tenure in the White House, he decreed a number of laws which were not so popular with his critics. Nonetheless, he pushed on with these advocacies knowing that the American people will benefit from them in the long run. He never was afraid to speak his mind and was more than accepting of the ramifications as a result of expressing his feelings out in the open.

One of his speeches which hold true to my heart is his One America or Americanism speech in 1915. It is a timeless demonstration of patriotism and devotion to the United States of America, its foundations, and institutions. It calls on every citizen under the flag of the stars and stripes to be a true American and not be a stranger to his homeland. Most importantly, this speech calls on the good heart of every American to treat his fellow man, regardless of his race, religion, or creed, with equality and respect, as every human being deserves to be.

Nowadays, I have witnessed our great country divided because of infighting among our leaders and citizens. Too much, greed, intolerance, and personal interests have clouded our better judgment that we fail to see the greater good, not only for ourselves, but for the social and economic progress of our nation. America prides itself as the Land of the Free but sometimes, it does not feel that way due to the social injustices committed every day racial discrimination, unethical labor practices, shortage of food, and lack of access to basic health care to mention a few. Roosevelts speech appealed to corporations for the fair treatment of workforce America, especially the migrant workers (or migrants in general), who were one of the addressees of his Americanization speech. But the funny thing is, up to this very day, it is still the minorities who bear the brunt of these social crimes. The president expressed his objection to hyphenated Americans (i.e. Italian-Americans, German-Americans, Irish Americans, etc.,) who act as if their loyalty still lies in their native land as this would hamper the progress of our nation as a whole. However, if you apply this plea to present social conditions, I cant blame my fellow countrymen if their allegiance is not well-rooted due to the treatment they received from their fellow Americans. In order for us to become a stronger nation, we must first look into the domestic issues that have been plaguing our institutions from the get-go. On the other hand, it seems we are so obsessed in cleaning up the political mess of other nations (cases in point Iraq, Afghanistan) that we fail to fully grasp the gravity of the problems and hypocrisies in our own backyard. I believe America has become sort of an easy target in the international arena because of its numerous political blunders and bureaucratic faux pas in the past few years.

Always being an optimist, I believe it is never too late for our great country. As long as there are principled men who fight against the moral decay of our society, we are in good hands. What we need is a more conscious effort from our leaders in addressing these issues. And most importantly, change must start in us. We should be good examples in our community and not play blind and deaf to things happening around us, may they be good or bad. The worst thing that can happen is a nation ran by apathetic zombies. We should stop the finger-pointing and take responsibilities for our actions and their consequences. Change may not come easily there will be growing pains but it will come eventually. As the good old saying goes, Rome was not built in a day.


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