In a couple days, we will be celebrating Independence Day. I'm going to be spending the holiday visiting with constituents of the 2nd District in Idaho Falls and Boise, and will be marching in both parades. I will also be speaking to Drinking Liberally tomorrow at MarCellars in Idaho Falls at 7:00 PM. I'd be pleased if you would join me.
We must not let it escape us how amazing it is that, after 232 years, the great experiment of our Founding Fathers is still here; we, in fact, have a far more perfect union than that of our predecessors. This is because we have understood that one of the greatest things about our system is its ability to adapt when change is obviously needed. When this nation was founded, our nation was half-slave, half-free and women wouldn't receive the vote for 150 years. But the structure of our democracy allows us to grow upon our past achievements; we have never been so mired in tradition that we haven't been able to move forward when we saw that a wrong was being done under the auspices of the United States government. We are a nation of ethics, rather than a nation of traditions. That is why I am so proud of my country.
But we must never think that we have reached our goal of a perfect union, that we can lean back and get too used to where we are. There are still reforms that are needed, and we must be constantly vigilant to avoid backsliding into the wrongs of the past. That is true patriotism, to protect the legacy of this country and to stop wrongs from being done in its name. I am running for office because I believe we deserve a government that seeks this improvement. Our health care system is broken with a large part of our nation's middle class unable to afford treatment. This is not acceptable, and it is a patriotic duty to attempt to improve the health care system so that every American can lead a healthy life. It is a patriotic duty to rehaul the energy economy at a time when it is scientifically clear that we are both running out of oil and seriously damaging our environment. And it is a patriotic duty to oppose the violation of fundamental constitutional rights, whether the victims of these violations be American citizens or foreign nationals.
In a forward-thinking country such as the United States, patriotism equals a willingness to look ahead, to see what needs to be done, and to try to fix it. Today, two days before the Fourth of July, I see us on the verge of a new period of necessary reform. But there's nothing new about it. A willingness to see change and the capacity to hope are the basis of what has made America what it is; the greatest nation in the world.