A dozen years after its founding, “in order to form a more perfect Union,” our nation adopted its Constitution. The union was not perfect in 1776; adopting the Constitution in 1788 did not make it so; it is not perfect now, and it never will achieve perfection. America instead is an ideal always to be sought and striven for in the future, not the past.

Martin Luther King had a dream, “deeply rooted in the American dream, … that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’” And he insisted: “If America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”

That is the voice of a true patriot, one who understands American greatness as an object of restless, ceaseless striving, something we are still and always will be trying to achieve — not something for us to return to.

Give me no false, unpatriotic gospel that American greatness lies behind, that it can only be recovered by going backward — that we should “make America great again.” I’m going forward with Martin.

L. Rex Sears, Salt Lake City