On July 4, AHA Founder Ayaan Hirsi Ali sent out a special message to our newsletter followers to mark the holiday. Below, that message is reproduced in full.
In my darkest moments, I sometimes wonder if America, the land of the free, is losing its way. In a few days’ time, we are meant to be celebrating our founding, the coming together of a people to reject tyranny and set themselves on a path of their own choosing.
But have we lost that spirit? Is America today truly united in this pursuit of living according to the ideals of freedom?
Sometimes I don’t think so. Sometimes, I look at the tribalism and polarization dividing friends and families across the nation, the cancel culture that is silencing people, and the hyper-partisanship that has infected our political processes, and I despair.
Then I think of the Fourth of July and the fireworks that will light up the skies this holiday weekend, from New York to Hawaii, from Niagara Falls to Key West—and my hope is restored. Yes, we have come to a perilous point in the great American experiment, but we have weathered far worse before and come out the stronger.
We fought a bloody civil war and went on to become the most powerful nation on Earth. If we could overcome such division then, why not now? And this time, we don’t need to fight a war to end an injustice. We just need to remember what unites us. We need to remember our North Star.
Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, old and young, black and white, religious and secular—most of us, despite our differences, still believe in the founding ideals of America. Most of us, I believe, still hold to the self-evident truths that all men (and women) are endowed with inalienable rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I was an immigrant who was given refuge in this country. I became an American citizen in 2013, and I look back at that as one of the greatest moments in my life. I am so lucky to be here, in what really is the land of the free whatever our detractors say, and I still believe wholeheartedly in its ideals. We can come together as a nation once more. I left Islam to become an atheist, but if I have faith in anything, it is America.
The Fourth of July is an opportunity to reflect on our deepest and most enduring ideals and to rally in defense of them again. Some of my main goals are to preserve, protect, and promote our precious western freedoms and ideals—so we can continue to live these freedoms and build an even stronger nation.
AHA Foundation is a core part of this mission. Their help for women and girls suffering from female genital mutilation (FGM) and child/forced marriage, their work promoting free speech on college campuses, and their commitment to combatting Islamist extremism are vital—and totally reliant on you, our generous supporters.
So, this Fourth of July, I want to thank you most of all for making the work of AHA Foundation possible. By supporting us, you help us promote liberty for all. You show the true spirit of America and put its best ideals into action every day.
I would like to end by invoking Thomas Jefferson once more. After a bitter and divisive election campaign between his Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalists, Jefferson became President in 1801. In his inaugural address, he chose not to reopen old wounds but instead urged unity going forward:
“We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”
This Fourth of July, let us revive this spirit. We are all brethren who believe in the ideals of America. We are all Americans. It is that simple. Now we must go forward holding to these principles once more. I believe we can do it.
Happy Fourth of July,
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder of AHA Foundation