Team USA may not have been able to beat Belgium on Tuesday, but according to CNN anchor Don Lemon, they did something better: “They taught us about what it means to be an American, to be a real patriot.”
Lemon took advantage of his regular radio appearance on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” on Thursday to pass along his patriotic message to listeners ahead of Independence Day on Friday.
“We have a lot to learn from the men of Team USA and soccer. They did a whole lot more than come close to winning the World Cup trophy,” Lemon said in his ode to America. “What they did as a disparate team of brothers unwittingly inspired Americans to come together to actually socialize with each other, in person and not on some electronic device.”
Lemon said he had never seen his entire CNN office putting down their electronics and “all communicating with each other” until watching the match together, and noticed a similar effect the game had on people around the country, including politicians and President Obama in Washington.
“We aren’t as divided as we think we are. We’re not just Republicans sitting in one corner, and Democrats sitting in the other corner,” Lemon continued. “More often than not, we think of ourselves as black, white, Asian, or Hispanic pretty much in this country, but the real America is much more than that … What Team USA did for me and for all of us is prove that no matter where we or our ancestors came from, that we are all Americans who are just as ethnically diverse as that team.”
Lemon wrapped up his plea for unity by arguing if Americans can put aside their differences for soccer — a sport that has yet to gain mainstream popularity in the U.S.A. outside of the World Cup — then they can do it for “something as important as democracy.”
“Think about just how much we’d get accomplished if we collectively viewed the people with whom we came into contact as just an American and not an American with a prefix,” he concluded. “If we did it for something arguably as trivial as a sporting event, surely we can do it for something as important as democracy — just as our founders did 238 years ago this week. Something to think about on this Independence Day.”