America is a nation divided -- politically, economically, ideologically, so much so that many wonder if there is any reason for optimism.
Some would say America's best days are behind her. With government gridlock and exploding debt, the erosion of freedom and liberty, pessimism about the future abounds.
But Edwin Feulner, president of The Heritage Foundation, believes the values that made America great still exist.
"Some might be tempted to conclude that the American experiment has failed. I take a different view. We've faced tougher problems in the past, yet our optimism has prevailed," Fuelner said.
In The American Spirit: Celebrating the Virtues and Values that Make Us Great, Feulner and co-author Brian Tracy share 20 key virtues they say define what it means to be an American.
Those characteristics include things like patriotism, individuality, generosity, and courage, which they say deserve to be cherished and preserved.
"Today, millions of Americans are not clear about why the United States is the greatest country on earth and in all human history," Tracy explains in the book's introduction.
Fuelner said that's a shame because the values that made this country great are embedded in the American identity.
"In America, you can start from anywhere, with or without benefits and advantages from your family, and make your own way and your own life," he said. "At any time, you can decide to change and do something completely different. Your life is yours to chart."
Feulner talk more about why Americans can remain optimistic, what's happened to the idea of American exceptionalism, and how we as a divided nation can come together, on "The 700 Club", Wednesday, Aug. 15. Check your local listings for show times, or check CBNNews.com after 10 a.m. ET for the full interview.