It’s no secret these are challenging times for Americans. While US economic confidence is the highest in years, only 30 percent of Americans report being satisfied “with the way things are going in the United States at this time,” according to Gallup polling.

With all the negativity, protests and political fighting, it’s easy to forget what makes America exceptional. Being exceptional doesn’t mean we’re better than other countries. It just means our country is unique and worthy of admiration and love. Of the hundreds of reasons to love America, here are a few to ponder this Valentine’s Day:

1. America is for everyone.

The United States was founded on an idea rather than an ethnicity or nationality. Germany is for Germans, India for Indians, and Egypt for Egyptians. In America, ethic background doesn’t matter. What matters is allegiance to the ideas of freedom, rule of law, natural rights, the consent of the governed and equality. These principles, so beautifully described in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, continue to guide our nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

2. America is generous.

The US ties with Myanmar as the most generous country in the world according to World Giving Index which tracks donations, volunteerism, and helping strangers. Americans gave away $373.25 billion to charity in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available. American generosity and neighborliness goes back to its founding. American’s penchant for “private initiatives for public good” was noted by Alexis de Tocqueville back in 1835 as an essential American quality.

It’s great to see we’re still sharing the love over 180 years later.

3. America does the right thing.

True, it sometimes takes a while. Winston Churchill once joked, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”

America ended slavery and eventually established equal rights for everyone during the Civil Rights era. While there is still room for improvement, it is important to recognize that racial and religious minorities and women do not enjoy equal rights in many parts of the world. Far from it.

America remains a beacon of hope for people around the world. Americans have devoted time, money, and lives to fighting poverty, disease, and the murderous ideologies of fascism, Nazism, communism, jihadism, and imperialism. We continue to be a global leader.

These are but a few reasons to love our country. Although it’s been a divisive year, Americans have much to embrace this Valentine’s Day.

What are your thoughts?

How can America more fully embrace its exceptional mission in these challenging times?

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