The definition of nationalism is as follows: “A feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country, often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.”
I have given this some consideration, and I believe that, along with genuine freedom, it is nationalism that provides a country with its greatest strength – that it is nationalism at the core of any country which secures unity, delivers a composite will to survive through difficult times, and gives individuals the pride and the purpose to keep that entity great. It was through our powerful sense of nationalism that America survived two world wars, and with our courage and pride, kept German from becoming the national language.
Unfortunately, today’s America is several quarts low on nationalism. I don’t think you’d find it in the top five things most Americans consider valuable or important. And I can tell you unequivocally, if America faced a war of the dimensions and the sacrifice of World War II today, we wouldn’t have a prayer. (But then, if that were a Christian prayer, it wouldn’t be allowed anyway.)
The problem is, with nationalism you actually have to love your country – genuinely love it. I believe that eliminates at least a third of the people who live here, primarily because this melting pot that we’ve been so proud of for so long, is no longer melting. Today, a huge percentage of Americans pride themselves on their hyphenation – and unfortunately a good portion of these folks carry, at best, an indifference for America, and, at worst, more resentment in their breasts than gratitude for all this country has provided them. In addition, we face a situation wherein many of the immigrants we’re rapidly welcoming, belong to a faith that insists on assimilating us, not the other way around.
But perhaps one of the most disheartening factors is the attitude of many of America’s youth. With their hats on backwards and their iPhones stuck to their ears, they’re constantly on the prowl for more free things this country can give them – the new motto being, “Ask not what you can do for your country, but what you’re country can do for you.” John Kennedy must be turning over in his grave. It was the bulk of the 18 to 30 year-olds that went willingly to war to save a country they loved in the years from ’39 to ’45. They threw themselves on the altar of freedom, and it was their sacrifices that preserved this nation, God bless them all. Do you see that happening today? How many of those folks in the cities of Detroit, Los Angeles, and Chicago do you see rushing out to serve and save their country?
On top of all this we have a president who places no value on nationalism whatsoever. The first thing he did after being elected was to go on a worldwide tour, apologizing for what America has done in the past – calling us arrogant and selfish… Old Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Mr. Reagan must have been moaning with despair from heaven. Since then, he has split this country and diminished our nationalism at every opportunity, welcoming illegal immigrants (who have nothing invested in this nation), while attacking the cornerstones of Christian faith and our Constitution, and aggravating America’s challenges with race relations by appearing on television to issue personal opinions contrary to the verdicts of America’s courts. But then perhaps the concept of American nationalism is really a foreign thing to a man who, as a child, never attended a Christian church, or an American school, or waved an American flag at a parade, or went on to serve a single moment as a U.S. soldier.
Recently, the notion of American exceptionalism was challenged by Russia’s little dictator, Vladimir Putin. Did our President respond? Did he stand in front of international cameras and argue that yes, America is indeed an exceptional nation, and we, her citizens are an exceptional people? No, he did nothing. America is crying out for leaders who understand that our strength and our exceptionalism come from our belief and dependence on God as the provider of our inalienable rights. In a day when hyper-partisanship is the norm, and our leaders bicker over the smallest of issues… we must remember that it is our liberty that makes us great. Not these small-minded and weak-tempered politicians. America is great in spite of them… not because of them.
Michael Reisig has been writing professionally for 15 years. He is an award-winning newspaper columnist and a best-selling novelist. Be sure to check out Reisig’s “Road To Key West” novel series. High adventure and humor as Kansas Stamps and Will Bell cavort through the Caribbean, from Key West and Cuba to Central and South America.
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