On July 4th, I celebrate my remarkable journey which is only possible in America

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Two hundred forty six years ago today, the American experiment was born. In our birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers spelled out the fundamental rights given to us all by our Creator. They envisioned a nation built on freedom and fairness.

In the centuries that followed we often failed, but more often succeeded, in our journey toward a “more perfect union.” The resilience embedded in the DNA of America is what has united generations of citizens—people of all backgrounds—to come together to make the founders’ vision a reality. 

This is a country that allowed me, the son of a single mom who raised her two Black sons in the South, to become a U.S. Senator representing the home of the Civil War. Where else on Earth is that possible? 

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But while we live in the most connected, fair, and scientifically advanced time in human history, it often feels as though we’ve never been more disconnected and divided over the core truths that form the foundation of our nation. 

America is the beacon on the hill. It is the great land of opportunity that made my story of limitless potential possible. 

In my April 2021 response to President Biden’s Joint Address to Congress I said that America is not a racist country. What some people heard is that race is no longer an issue. The idea that there are no threads of racism in the fabric of this nation would be just as preposterous as the revisionist history pushed by those who want to rewrite our story for 1619, reframing it as oppressed versus oppressor. What I said and what people heard couldn’t be further apart. 

On July 4th, I celebrate my remarkable journey which is only possible in America

I fear we have forgotten how to listen to one another, and as a result, what was once the truth has proliferated into everyone having their own truth. We have created an environment that tells us to pick sides, dig our heels in, and throw bombs. Don’t listen, don’t try to understand. Every day is a battle. There is no reprieve. 

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I refuse to buy into the “burn it all down” mentality dominating our current culture and discourse. That isn’t my story and that isn’t the story of America. That’s why I’ve written my soon-to-be-released book, “America: A Redemption Story.” 

On July 4th, I celebrate my remarkable journey which is only possible in America

The thread of tragic and triumphant moments from my own family’s history and my own life are woven into the tapestry of stories from both major and minor characters of our nation’s history. The resulting picture is complex and, I pray, encouraging and inspiring to millions of people across this country in search of reasons to be hopeful for our future.

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My story, like the story of many Americans, is one of challenges and opportunities, and of pain turned into purpose. I look forward to sharing more details about my family, the stories of others, and how our lives have followed the redemptive arc of our nation.

On July 4th, I celebrate my remarkable journey which is only possible in America

The 2015 massacre of my friend Clementa Pinckney and eight other saints at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, showed me the depravity of the human heart. But we also witnessed nine families do the unthinkable when they ushered forgiveness to center stage just days after their loved ones were taken by the bullets of that hateful, racist man. That’s redemption.

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I talk candidly about the challenges and triumphs of the Trump administration, including my own behind the scenes experience on January 6. I know what happened—I was there. The fear, uncertainty, and urgency that gripped the Capitol. The charged emotions and sharp words traded by senators as we were in hiding. The power of prayer and determination to turn a scene of chaos and despair into one of unity and resolve. That’s resilience.

On July 4th, I celebrate my remarkable journey which is only possible in America

The journey from misery to meaning in these stories mirrors the journey of America. Our story is a story of ordinary people displaying extraordinary courage and compassion. It’s not a story you’ll hear from the mainstream media. But it is the truth. 

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Do we have a ways to go as a nation? Absolutely. But America is the solution, not the problem. America is the beacon on the hill. It is the great land of opportunity that made my story of limitless potential possible. 

I believe that we are all created in the image of God with an infinite capacity to overcome the challenges set before us no matter the height of the obstacles. Wherever you may be in your journey, it is my sincere prayer that you will join me in preserving hope for the future of our nation for generations to come.

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