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Michael Johnson: "We only have as much democracy as we can afford in America."

Once, I believed that Russians would find freedom and democracy intoxicating. Each time I have naively accepted the ubiquitous belief every nation wishes to copy America I have been humbled. Freedom sprouts insecurity. We only have as much democracy as we can afford in America.

Mirroring America's religious heritage, Americans spot imperfections in the world surrounding them, while being comfortably blind to America's flaws. We see Russians starving and ignore hunger in America. We notice collapsing freedom of the press on Russian television and except corporate consolation of American broadcast journalism. Then Americans resent being seen as
arrogant by others.

Sacrifice is an American value. The wealthy sacrifice by adorning their homes with fading flags, they place American flag decals on the windows of their cars and they wave our heroic troops off to Iraq as they send their children to off to the safety of Ivy League schools. Americans watch Fox News, while drinking vintage wine and tear up seeing the sacrifice made by young Americans, whose best economic opportunity was to join the military.

Americans were shown sacrifice by the generation who landed at Normandy. America sacrificed 300, 000 soldiers and few civilians in World War II. Russia lost 6,000,000 and 15,000,000 civilians their Great Patriotic War. Without Russian sacrifice there would have been no Normandy. Sacrifice isn't American. Sacrifice is universal. Arrogance is a luxury of excess.

Michael Johnson