Stars and Stripes. Forever.
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
The Fourth of July is a big deal in our house. More often than not, you can find Jacquelyn, our boys and myself out in the Black Hills around a campfire, toasting marshmallows in honor of our nation’s birthday. And plus – I’m not one to turn down some good fireworks. But more importantly, July 4 is an annual reminder of the bravery and unbelievable determination it took for our Founding Fathers to create a more perfect union.
We know our union is far from perfect – but it is a free union. A union where its citizens can protest decisions the government does or does not make, where citizens can freely celebrate their own opinions and beliefs, and where we all can collectively debate on the best path forward for our nation. We are the lucky ones.
This weekend, I’ll be celebrating with the President of the United States and thousands of other South Dakotans at Mount Rushmore – and what a sight it will be. In stark contrast, some in our state, and across the country, have called for Mount Rushmore to be removed. There’s no doubt we have work to do as a country, but the presidents honored on Mount Rushmore championed the cause of freedom. Those seeking to remove these iconic faces are undermining the contributions these leaders made in pursuit of equality.
Removing Mount Rushmore would further divide this country, which is why I introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act last week. My bill would prohibit the use of federal funds to alter or destroy Mount Rushmore in any way. These men were not perfect – none of us are. But focusing on the imperfections fails to honor the incredible accomplishments these presidents made during their tenures.
There was a point in time where “red, white and blue” were just colors. But now, the phrase is synonymous with American freedom. Selected to represent the valor, vigilance and innocence of its people, our nation’s colors have carried us through victory and defeat. They have carried us from the dark shadows of our past and will carry us into a better future. As you and your family watch red, white and blue fireworks light up the sky this weekend, I hope you’ll take a moment to pause, to reflect and remember why we all should be proud to be Americans.