It’s OK to Love America

The Flag of the U.S.A.

A recent Gallup poll shows that only 47% of those polled were “extremely proud” of their country. This is disturbing, but not surprising, given that public schools, colleges, and political leaders constantly talk down America. Students today are fed a version of history that accentuates the negative while downplaying or completely ignoring the positive. The Left tells us that conservatives are fascists while shutting down the free speech of others they don’t agree with. They fear that if a majority of Supreme Court justices actually follow the Constitution as written, a whole host of “rights” will disappear into thin air. They are unaware apparently of the irony of what they say, as the Constitution was written precisely to codify into law our rights. We live in a country where laws are fine if enforced by one president, but not another. Most of the lack of pride in America stems from a very skewed version of history, the malleable definition of certain words like fascist, racist, sexist, etc., and a near zero knowledge of civics. There are plenty of things that Americans can be proud of, things that paint a better, and indeed, a more accurate picture of America. The fact is, that Americans have many reasons to love their country. Listed here are just a few:

We beat the most powerful empire at the time, Britain through a combination of sheer determination, imagination, and just plain luck. The courage, valor, and determination of the American patriots should not be overlooked. Our Revolution could have been lost in so many ways, yet we pulled off the upset of the century. Read just about any book on the American Revolution and you’ll see just how amazing and improbable our victory actually was. Some, such as George Washington have even attributed our nation’s birth to divine providence.

We freed the slaves. Yes, unfortunately, we had them in the first place, but the matter of slavery was a contentious one since the founding of our republic. Slavery was abolished in Pennsylvania even before the Battle of Yorktown was fought. Though slavery lost support in the North early, it was only ended in the rest of the country at tremendous cost. Imagine a war that was not only the bloodiest in the nation’s history but one where all of the casualties were citizens of the same country. Imagine a war fought not over territory or religion, but over the freedom of people.

We invented stuff, lots of cool stuff. We invented a lot of things the world would have a lot of trouble getting along without. Basic stuff, like light bulbs, the telephone, wireless communication, the internet, zippers, the airplane. Nothing too important.

Your map looks the way it does mainly due to America. Once there were two German states, we helped get that number down to one and a rather ugly wall was torn down in the process. There is a Russia, but not a U.S.S.R., again, mainly thanks to us. We had some help of course, from leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, but it was the visionary leadership of a certain American president named Reagan that finally broke the stalemate. There are two Korea’s, one we kept free, a few countries that used to comprise Yugoslavia, and a few more that were either Soviet republics or vassal states. America’s influence has literally been global.

We helped win two world wars and the Cold War. Countries once former enemies are now either allies or important trading partners, or both. Hundreds of millions of people are free due to our willingness to sacrifice for their freedom. Millions more have a chance if they can resist the temptation to revert back to authoritarianism.

We sent a man to the moon. In fact, several of them. To date, the only human beings to ever walk on the moon have been American. Every single human being to take a selfie on the moon has been an American. Every single human being to ever drive a cool dune buggy on the moon has been an American. Every single human being ever to drive a golf ball on the moon, you guessed it– has been an American.

We help people. Anytime there is a major catastrophe anywhere in the world, America offers aid. Be it after an earthquake in Haiti, tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, or hurricanes in the Caribbean, or any number of other disasters you can name, America is always one of the first countries to offer humanitarian assistance. Were also generous, The United States consistently rates high among all nations in charitable giving, both in terms of total dollar amounts and dollars per capita. Just google: “charitable giving by country” and you’ll see.

To hear it from some people, you’d think that America was a terrible place with a terrible history with few redeeming qualities. Some of their points are valid, but they do not give a balanced perspective on our nation. Our Founding Fathers were men of wisdom and courage who sacrificed much and were prepared to give even more, even their lives if necessary for us to gain our independence. That spirit of sacrifice, of putting liberty and freedom above our own lives and fortunes carries on to this day. No country has done more to further the cause of liberty than the United States. Our influence is global, literally, we’ve helped rewrite atlases, we’ve helped oppressive countries disappear and be replaced with more liberal ones. From freeing black Americans from slavery to freeing other nations from tyranny and oppression, America has always taken a lead role. We make and do cool stuff, like build the Panama Canal and send cars into space. We help the less fortunate in our own county and across the globe. Even when it comes to countries that we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with politically, we offer them help in their time of need. In short, there is an awful lot to be proud of if you’re an American. That doesn’t mean we ignore the bad, or not continue to correct injustices, it means that our positive contributions and achievements far outweigh the negative, and for that, we should be proud.

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Washington’s Crossing Reenactment

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Every year in December, reenactors recreate Washington’s famous Christmas night crossing of the Delaware

Every year I say I’m going to go, but I always missed it for whatever reason.  Finally this year I made it over to Washington Crossing Historical Park in Pennsylvania.  Today was actually a dress rehearsal for the “real” reenactment that takes place every Christmas Day. I appreciate the volunteer reenactors sharing their love of history with the public.

 

dscn3963The original crossing took place on December 25th and 26th, 1776.  It was an act of desperation by General Washington that may have saved the American Revolution.  Defeating the Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, and the subsequent victory at Princeton gave the faltering Revolution a new lease on life.  It was such an important event in our nation’s history that it is well worth leaning about.

Memorial Days of our Possible Future

Memorial day 2016 has passed.  The picnics and barbecues are over.  The wreath laying ceremonies have been completed.    Many Americans, perhaps more in recent years keep Memorial Day sacred, and well they should.  Many, many American heroes left their homes for war and never returned.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice.  The loved ones they left behind morn their loss.  From that darkest day, and especially on Memorial Day, they are reminded that their loved ones gave their lives that we could be free. Our freedom, liberty, democracy are those ideals that they gave their lives for.  Their deaths are not considered in vain, we say, because of these gifts their sacrifice has secured for us.  In many ways, this is a distinction not shared by all fallen warriors throughout history, as not all of the fallen died for these things.  They fought for king and country, maybe to protect their families, but nothing more noble than that. Will they day ever come that Americans of some future era, in some future conflict fight for little more?

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Victory in WWII

The NAZI’s did not fight for freedom, quite the opposite.  The Russians fought for Rodina, the motherland and their comrades.  Napoleon won scores of battles, his soldiers won victory after victory for the glory of France all across Europe, and freed nary a soul from oppression in the process.  Japan spent a century at war during the middle ages, the samurai fought for honor and for their lord, but never for liberty.  What of the next generation of Americans?  Will the era of fighting for real freedom have ended?

One by one our liberties have fallen or are in danger of falling by the wayside—our right to privacy traded for security, our right to free speech ceded to militant progressives at the college campus, the rights of the states to self-governance ground into nothingness by an overbearing federal government.  The courts now dictate which religious customs we are free to follow.  Likewise, the Supreme Court has determined that Americans don’t have the right to choose their own healthcare, or none at all.  Thanks to EPA regulations, farmers and ranchers are not free to manage their land as they see fit.  The examples go on and on.  If this is where we are now at this rate, imagine how little liberty there will be left for our brave service members serving in the not-so-distant future will actually to give their lives for.

What then will we tell the families of future fallen warriors?  Will they be told their loved ones died for freedom?  Perhaps, if the enemy they fought against has markedly less freedom even then us.  It certainly wouldn’t, couldn’t be said that they died for the same freedom our Revolutionary War, Civil War Union soldiers, or WWII heroes did.  The surviving family members might be consoled by the fact that their loved ones died for their county, for honor, even to protect them, but not freedom as once existed on this continent.  On that sad day, our fallen will make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of nationalism, the homeland, perhaps even Socialism.  On that day, may it never come, our war dead will have given their last breath for no more a cause than a piece of land, some natural resources, or a border on a map.  Memorial Day will be a much different day, a day to mourn more than the loss of American heroes, but of a free country that once existed that was worthy of their sacrifice.

How do Secular-Progressive-Statists Celebrate the 4th of July?

Revolutionary War Garbed Actors
Revolutionary War Garbed Actors

It’s the end of another Independence Day weekend.  Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is still playing in my head, and I am indeed proud to be an American.  This 4th, I did what’s possibly the ultimate way to celebrate the day, I went to Philadelphia, the nation’s birthplace. There is nothing like roaming the streets of Old City Philadelphia to reinforce one’s patriotism.  It was a common site to see folks dressed in Revolutionary War era regalia.  A crowed of us revelers listened to an actor dressed as Thomas Jefferson read the Declaration of Independence, not far from the place where the real Thomas Jefferson read our nation’s birth certificate.  Everywhere were reminders of our struggles to become free.  Everywhere people sought to learn about our nation’s founding. In other parts of the country, people celebrated with cookouts, parades, and of course fireworks.

Fireworks as Viewed From Philadelphia, PA
Fireworks as Viewed From Philadelphia, PA

As a self identified hybrid conservative/libertarian and a veteran, it was easy to feel a certain measure of pride and patriotism on our country’s birthday, which leads me to my question:  What do (if anything) the Secular/Progressives celebrate on July 4th?  Our Founding Fathers risked their lives and their fortunes in the cause of liberty.  They sought to break from what they saw as a tyrannical government.  They wanted to have more control over their lives than a king three thousand miles away.  Do Progressives value liberty the way our founders did?  Is government control over our lives to be shunned or sought? Have they expanded or contracted the freedoms that the Revolution was fought for?

At the other end of Independence Mall from me was held a gay-pride rally.  They were celebrating a newfound freedom to marry.  Whether you agree with that cause or not, or their methods in achieving that goal, you have to at least have some respect for any group of Americans who successfully increased their own personal liberty.  When was the last time the Government offered any American greater freedom, rather than take it away?  Unfortunately, their victory was the exception and not the rule.  On the balance, the government overwhelmingly tends to limit the liberties of its citizens.  It does it in the name of “fairness” (read income redistribution) or “the greater good”.  It has limited our freedom to buy health insurance or not, it dictates what kind of light bulbs we can use.  It seeks to control how farmers manage their lands by regulating rainwater.  They control what our kids eat in school and what they learn.  They seek to control how much sugar you put into your body, and smoking?  Forget it.

Today’s federal government is in many ways, much more powerful, much more controlling of the everyday lives of its citizens than the one the American Patriots fought to free themselves from.  Our President through executive orders and regulations enjoys at least as much control over our lives as did King George III have over his subjects.  The statist, progressive element in this country as exemplified by President Obama, Secretary Clinton and their followers share very little philosophical ground with our Founders who subscribed to the Enlightenment philosophy of Natural Rights and their supremacy over those bestowed by any government. The Constitution which enshrined those rights on paper has lost almost all meaning to the Statist Left. They cite it when it suits them and ignore it when it doesn’t.  In many cases, what would seem to be the plain meaning and intent of the Constitution has been warped beyond all recognition in cases where Progressives see it as a hindrance to their cause.

The Secular/Progressives even seek to rewrite or obliterate American History when it does not fit into their narrative.  Our Founding Fathers in their retelling, were not great, enlightened men seeking freedom, they are now greedy racists, who sought only profit.  They forget, and wish the rest of us to forget, that it was their Democratic Party that gave us Jackson and his Indian Removal Act that blazed the Trail of Tears.  They forget, conveniently that all of the leadership of the Confederacy including its President, Jefferson Davis were all Democrats.  Democrats lead the segregation that lasted up until the 1960’s.  In short, all of the sins they seek to attribute to the Founding Fathers were committed to a much greater degree by Democrats later in our county’s history.  Perhaps the true motivation behind their newfound fervor to remove the Confederate flag from all public places is merely a desire to sweep away the last remaining reminders of a failed, Democrat lead separatist movement.

The values of the Secular/Progressive/Statists are not those espoused by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and the rest of the Founders.  Those men all believed in the Constitution and the Rule of Law.  To the Progressive, those things are just quaint anachronisms of a bygone era, to be followed if at all, only when it suits their purposes.  Even the Enlightenment and Revolutionary era that followed it has been subject to their attempts to rewrite history and nullify their influence on American culture today.  They seek also to erase the historical evidence of their own racism, and that of their chosen Party while attempting to project it on those the great men who gave us the freedom and liberty we celebrate every year on July 4th.  If they celebrate that day in 1776 at all, it must be from a position of denial and refusal to acknowledge how different their cause is than that of those who founded this great nation.

So, what is American Conservatism? Pt. 2: (…and why does it matter?)

Rev War Soldiers mdWhy does it matter that we as Americans hold true to the ideals of the Founding Fathers?  That is the question after all, at the heart of the matter.  A quick lesson in American history may provide an answer.  America started as a British colony.  At the time of the Revolution, all the colonists were therefore subjects to King George III.  Britain was in the midst of expanding its empire, but had competition from countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal.  Staying ahead of that competition meant ships, arms, and armies.  Trans-Atlantic commerce and the taxes that came with them were needed  to finance this expansion.  The primary grievance of the colonists was that, unlike their brothers across the pond, they had no say in the creation of the  taxes being levied upon them, otherwise known as “taxation without representation”.  As well as needing as much tax revenue as could be gotten from the Colonies, the Crown also needed to exploit America’s vast natural resources, timber in particular was in high demand to make ships for the Royal fleet.  To a large degree, American industrial production was being  dictated from overseas.  It could be said then that the British economy was a command economy.  To be fair, virtually all economies at that time were command economies.   The colonists found themselves at a political and economic impasse with the Mother Country.  They wanted a greater say in how their economy would be run, but their King and Parliament could hardly afford to part with considerable wealth coming from America, nor could they offer the Colonies the greater autonomy they demanded.  For this, many of the colonists found themselves in direct opposition to their ruler, who they came to see as a tyrant.  The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were purposefully written by the Founders as the antidotes to tyranny, and to prevent homegrown tyrants from replacing the ones they’d just thrown off.  It follows then that further we deviate from the ideals espoused in these founding documents, the more likely we are to slip back into the grasp of tyrants. 

Conservatives see the  American Revolution for what it was– a struggle for liberty and freedom against an oppressive government that the colonists had no and in making and little hope of influencing.  They recognize that our founding documents were written for the express reason of providing a means for claiming and keeping their God-given rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. They recognize that freedom loving people forget these reasons for America’s founding at their peril.