I have tears every year watching applicants for naturalization become American citizens. Since 1963, we have celebrated Independence Day at Monticello by welcoming new Americans who share Thomas Jefferson's vision of America.
On this 4th of July weekend, with General Petraeus taking command in Afghanistan, what would Thomas Jefferson do? Would he see the massive military and nation building mission in Afghanistan as a wise and necessary course of action?
1776 is a reminder that the embrace of the status quo in the face of revolutionary ideas is nothing new. Nor is bloody legislative compromise or our ongoing frustration over a Congress mired in petty squabbling.
We should never doubt that the destiny of our community, including overcoming the scars of corruption, will be written by those who care about its future and not those who abuse the privilege of holding the public's trust.
The Tea Partiers are not entirely wrong to warn about the potential of the state to repress freedom, but in overlooking the role of the state in ensuring these freedoms, they foolishly misread history.
Author Akbar Ahmed has dedicated himself to building bridges of understanding between worlds. I asked him about the impact of Faisal Shahzad's actions on the larger goal of increasing trust among Muslims and non-Muslims in the U.S. and beyond.