As average Americans celebrate 243 years of independence, they endure privileged celebrities who take joy in dissing their country.

“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again,” said multimillionaire soccer player Megan Rapinoe, a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.

Her gripe: She dislikes President Donald Trump. Fair enough. Many people do. Using a barrage of F-bombs, Rapinoe said she would not go to the “f-----g White House” should her team win the World Cup.

Then there’s former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who makes a profession of insulting the country that made him famous and rich. This entitled multimillionaire kicked off the holiday by complaining about Nike’s new Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoe. It featured the flag with 13 white stars in a circle, as created during the American Revolution by upholsterer Betsy Ross. It is an icon of history.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Kaepernick claims the original flag had a “connection to an era of slavery.” Of course it did. Incredibly, Nike recalled the shoes.

We have a quick history lesson for Kaepernick and Nike: Most flags have a “connection to an era of slavery.” Every global region has a history of slavery — even Canada. Native Americans had slaves, as documented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Much of the world continues the disgraceful practice today, never working to end it.

The Global Slavery Index of the Walk Free Foundation reports rampant slavery continues in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and North Korea. Underdeveloped countries, which do not have NFL teams, tend to have slaves. They always have.

“There are an estimated 18.4 million slaves in India, compared to 3.4 million in China and 2.1 million in Pakistan,” reports Statista data journalist Niall McCarthy in Forbes.

“Politically stable countries with high levels of economic wealth have few people living in slavery …”

Slavery will always be a disgusting blemish on this country’s past. However … Unlike much of the world, the United States embarked upon ending slavery relatively soon after her founding. Slavery conflicted with the founding principles of freedom, so Americans fought a Civil War.

The right side won, ending the “states’s rights” confederate justification for slave-based economies.

Less than 100 years past the Civil War, the American Congress passed a civil rights act unique in the world. As foreign theocracies, autocracies and oligarchies behead people of the “wrong” race, religion or sexual orientation, the United States upholds constitutional civil rights granted to all. As opposed to sanctioning murder, our government ensures equal opportunity employment, housing and more — all to respect cultural diversity, countless immutable traits and chosen creeds.

Only in this environment of tolerance, stupendous economic wealth and political stability could a gay young woman and black young man earn millions on athletic fields. Only in a country this great could they maintain their safety, liberty, dignity and fortunes while snubbing the national flag and the country’s highest political authority.

By accident, whiny celebrities remind us of America’s greatness. They are not alone in their thanklessness today. A pre-July 4 survey by Gallup found fewer than half of U.S. adults say they are “extremely” proud of this country. Apparently, most respondents are not “extremely” proud of historically low crime rates, negligible unemployment among all demographics, rising household incomes and charities that care for much of the world.

Today, we should not mistake what this country represents. It is not about 90 years of slavery, outlawed 154 years ago. It is not about every injustice committed in violation of our well-intentioned laws. It is not about any one of 45 presidents.

The United States protects and supports its people, as shown by young rich celebrities. It cares for others around the globe. We feed poor nations. We intervene in foreign human rights atrocities that pose no threat to us. We cure diseases, explore space, protect forests and meadows, invent new products and defend animal life.

The United States embarks on countless endeavors that expand the wealth, knowledge, freedom and welfare of all humankind. Toward this cause, countless Americans have given their lives fighting wars and upholding the law.

The United States is not perfect, but it sure tries. Freedom and goodness. That is what the flag represents. That, not the country’s flaws, is the legacy we salute on the Fourth of July.

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