Happy birthday, America. We’ve made it another year — tumultuous, divided, chaotic — but still another year of freedom under our belts.

Over the entirety of human history we're but a blip, but in the context of modern civilization we’re the defining nation and have been for almost 250 years, a nation that has done more good for more people around this globe than any other nation in all the millennia that history has been recorded.

So how did we get here? And by here I don’t mean our war for independence, our Civil War to abolish slavery, or World War II to save humanity. I mean here, today; this sickness of envy, offense and politicizing everything and everyone?

How have we arrived at this point in time where personal responsibility, respect for rule of law and patriotism for country is ridiculed and reviled while attacks on the same are celebrated and cheered?

How did we get to a recent Gallup poll showing that Americans' pride in their country is at its lowest point since the poll began in 2001? Only 45% of those surveyed stated they were “extremely” proud of their country. Yes, yes, I know, it’s now knee-jerk time to blame Donald Trump, yet it’s not that easy.

Republican pride in this country has remained relatively stable (76% this year, and never below 68% during Obama’s two terms). Only 22% of Democrats expressed “extreme pride” in America this year. The report adds that in the 19 years Gallup has been conducting the poll, Democrats have always reported lower pride in country.

While the years immediately following the 9/11 attacks saw the highest ratings among both parties, the slide for Democrats started in 2006 and has never recovered. What happened in 2006? Democrats took control of the House and Nancy Pelosi was handed the speaker’s gavel, and the party began its hard turn to the left.

Add in a national media heavily tilted to Democratic Party ideology and the growth of social media and you have the toxic stew now brewing in every corner of our nation — a stew that the current crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls are only too happy to stir.

For four hours over two nights a little over a week ago, MSNBC televised the first Democratic primary debates of the 2020 presidential election season. Granted, with 10 people on stage each night it was a debate only in the loosest of terms. With the exception of John Delaney — who had the gall to skewer the Medicare for All myth with: “A hundred million Americans say they like their private health insurance” and “I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fix what’s broken” — the entire four hours can be summed up with “free everything for everybody, orange man bad, and Joe Biden old."

In other words, if you’re a student of history, respect our foundational principles and realize “limited government, maximum liberty” actually means something, you’re glad you didn’t have a brick handy or your wallet would be a few hundred bucks lighter from replacing your television.

Free health care (even for those living here illegally), free college, free prekindergarten, forgiveness of college debt, paying reparations, dictating gun control and opening borders for anyone who can make it across ... that's a laundry list of false promises and misinformation antithetical to everything America actually is.

Or at least what it was founded on.

If only those Oval Office wannabes had bothered to take a few seconds and remember their Thomas Jefferson: "To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, 'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.' ”

Toss in Instagram diva and part-time lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling border facilities concentration camps, declaring that there was no running water and that border patrol agents were telling women to drink out of the toilet, and it's no wonder many Americans are disillusioned about their country.

Ocasio-Cortez's claim has been denied by both the border patrol and The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who toured the same facility and stated, “We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions, and no lack of basic necessities” and that he was ”shocked by the misinformation by some members of Congress."

Yes, America is divided today. But how can it not be when we now have members of Congress willingly undermining our very foundation for nothing more than their own political gain?

Donald Trump's a piker compared to this bunch.

Have a happy Fourth, and yes, God Bless America.

Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin. He can be reached at gc@caldwellcorners.com.